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In February 2004, I participated in the top 250 films meme, which involved copying the list of the IMDB's top 250 films (as voted by users) and highlighting those I'd actually seen. Almost two years later, I repeated the exercise in December 2005, and again last December. Time to do so again. Note that the top 250 changes rapidly and the following list is today's (30/12/07), quite different to those used before.

1 The Godfather (1972)
2 The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
3 The Godfather: Part II (1974)
4 Buono, il brutto, il cattivo, Il (Good, the Bad and the Ugly, The) (1966)
5 Pulp Fiction (1994)
6 Schindler's List (1993)
7 Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
8 One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
9 Casablanca (1942)
10 Shichinin no samurai (Seven Samurai) (1954)
11 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
12 Star Wars (1977)
13 12 Angry Men (1957)
14 No Country for Old Men (2007)
15 Rear Window (1954)
16 Goodfellas (1990)
17 Cidade de Deus (City Of God) (2002)
18 Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
19 The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
20 C'era una volta il West (Once Upon a Time in the West) (1968)
21 The Usual Suspects (1995)
22 Psycho (1960)
23 Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
24 Citizen Kane (1941)
25 The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
26 North by Northwest (1959)
27 Fight Club (1999)
28 Memento (2000)
29 The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
30 Sunset Blvd. (1950)
31 It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
32 Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
33 The Matrix (1999)
34 Taxi Driver (1976)
35 Apocalypse Now (1979)
36 American Beauty (1999)
37 Se7en (1995)
38 Vertigo (1958)
39 Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain, Le (Amélie) (2001)
40 Léon (1994)
41 The Departed (2006)
42 American History X (1998)
43 Paths of Glory (1957)
44 M (1931)
45 To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
46 The Third Man (1949)
47 Chinatown (1974)
48 Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
49 Laberinto del Fauno, El (Pan's Labyrinth) (2006)
50 A Clockwork Orange (1971)
51 Alien (1979)
52 The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
53 Leben der Anderen, Das (The Lives Of Others) (2006) 54 Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi (Spirited Away) (2001)
55 The Pianist (2002)
56 Double Indemnity (1944)
57 The Shining (1980)
58 Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
59 The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
60 Boot, Das (1981)
61 Untergang, Der (Downfall) (2004)
62 L.A. Confidential (1997)
63 Requiem for a Dream (2000)
64 Saving Private Ryan (1998)
65 Reservoir Dogs (1992)
66 The Maltese Falcon (1941)
67 Metropolis (1927)
68 Forrest Gump (1994)
69 Aliens (1986)
70 Raging Bull (1980)
71 Rashômon (1950)
72 Modern Times (1936)
73 Hotel Rwanda (2004)
74 Sjunde inseglet, Det (Seventh Seal, The) (1957)
75 Sin City (2005)
76 Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
77 Singin' in the Rain (1952)
78 Rebecca (1940)
79 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
80 All About Eve (1950)
81 Some Like It Hot (1959)
82 The Great Escape (1963)
83 Touch of Evil (1958)
84 Amadeus (1984)
85 On the Waterfront (1954)
86 Vita è bella, La (Life Is Beautiful) (1997)
87 The Prestige (2006) 88 City Lights (1931)
89 The Elephant Man (1980)
90 Jaws (1975)
91 The Sting (1973)
92 The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
93 Full Metal Jacket (1987)
94 Nuovo cinema Paradiso (Cinema Paradiso) (1989)
95 Strangers on a Train (1951)
96 Once Upon a Time in America (1984)
97 The Apartment (1960)
98 Salaire de la peur, Le (The Wages of Fear) (1953)
99 Braveheart (1995)
100 The Great Dictator (1940)
101 Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
102 Batman Begins (2005)
103 Blade Runner (1982)
104 Ratatouille (2007)
105 The Big Sleep (1946)
106 High Noon (1952)
107 The Wizard of Oz (1939)
108 Ran (1985)
109 Notorious (1946)
110 Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983)
111 Oldboy (2003)
112 The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
113 Ladri di biciclette (Bicycle Thief, The) (1948)
114 Fargo (1996)
115 Back to the Future (1985)
116 Unforgiven (1992)
117 Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)
103 Donnie Darko (2001)
119 Battaglia di Algeri, La (The Battle of Algiers) (1966)
120 Million Dollar Baby (2004)
121 Mononoke-hime (Princess Mononoke) (1997)
122 Cool Hand Luke (1967)
123 Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
124 Yojimbo (1961)
125 Notti di Cabiria, Le (Nights of Cabiria) (1957)
126 Per qualche dollaro in più (For a Few Dollars More) (1965)
127 The Green Mile (1999)
128 Annie Hall (1977)
129 Ben-Hur (1959)
130 Gladiator (2000)
131 Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)
132 The Sixth Sense (1999)
133 The Deer Hunter (1978)
134 Die Hard (1988)
135 The Killing (1956)
136 The Incredibles (2004)
137 It Happened One Night (1934)
138 Finding Nemo (2003)
139 The General (1927)
140 Life of Brian (1979)
141 Diaboliques, Les (1955)
142 Platoon (1986)
143 V for Vendetta (2005)
144 Children of Men (2006)
145 Amores perros (Love's a Bitch) (2000)
146 Smultronstället (Wild Strawberries) (1957)
147 (1963)
148 The Wild Bunch (1969)
149 The Princess Bride (1987)
150 American Gangster (2007)
151 Brief Encounter (1945)
152 Crash (2004)
153 The Graduate (1967)
154 Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)
155 Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)
156 Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
157 The Night of the Hunter (1955)
158 Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
159 The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
160 Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
161 Heat (1995)
162 Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
163 Belle et la bête, La (Beauty and the Beast) (1946)
164 Grindhouse (2007)
165 Stand by Me (1986)
166 Gandhi (1982)
167 Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004)
168 The African Queen (1951)
169 The Big Lebowski (1998)
170 Harvey (1950)
171 Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
172 Wo hu cang long (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) (2000)
173 Kabinett des Doktor Caligari, Das (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari) (1920)
174 Witness for the Prosecution (1957)
175 The Conversation (1974)
176 Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (Nosferatu) (1922)
177 The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
178 Gone with the Wind (1939)
179 Trainspotting (1996)
180 3:10 to Yuma (2007)
181 Stalker (1979)
182 The Thing (1982)
183 Duck Soup (1933)
184 Snatch. (2000)
185 Patton (1970)
186 Umberto D. (1952)
187 Groundhog Day (1993)
188 The Gold Rush (1925)
189 The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
190 The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
191 Toy Story (1995)
192 Idi i smotri (Come and See) (1985)
193 Scarface (1983)
194 Twelve Monkeys (1995)
195 Sleuth (1972)
196 King Kong (1933)
197 The Hustler (1961)
198 Glory (1989)
199 Hot Fuzz (2007)
200 Du rififi chez les hommes (Rififi) (1955)
201 The Terminator (1984)
202 Ed Wood (1994)
203 Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
204 Hotaru no haka (Grave of the Fireflies) (1988)
205 The Ox-Bow Incident (1943)
206 The Exorcist (1973)
207 Lola rennt (Run Lola Run) (1998)
208 Spartacus (1960)
209 All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
210 The Lady Vanishes (1938)
211 Out of the Past (1947)
212 Stalag 17 (1953)
213 In the Heat of the Night (1967)
214 The Philadelphia Story (1940)
215 Toy Story 2 (1999)
216 Seppuku (1962)
217 The Lost Weekend (1945)
218 A Christmas Story (1983)
219 Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)
220 Anatomy of a Murder (1959)
221 The Lion King (1994)
222 Frankenstein (1931)
223 Magnolia (1999)
224 Ikiru (1952)
225 Tengoku to jigoku (The Ransom) (1963)
226 Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927)
227 Big Fish (2003)
228 Rosemary's Baby (1968)
229 Mystic River (2003)
230 Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
231 Mou gaan dou (Infernal Affairs) (2002) 232 Young Frankenstein (1974)
233 Quatre cents coups, Les (400 Blows, The) (1959)
234 Ying xiong (Hero) (2002)
235 Kumonosu jô (Throne of Blood) (1957)
236 Haine, La (1995)
237 The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)
238 Casino (1995)
239 A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
240 Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes (Aguirre: The Wrath of God) (1972)
241 The Searchers (1956)
242 His Girl Friday (1940)
243 Manhattan (1979)
244 Dial M for Murder (1954)
245 Casino Royale (2006)
246 Shaun of the Dead (2004)
247 Harold and Maude (1971)
248 Roman Holiday (1953)
249 Samouraï, Le (1967)
250 Tropa de Elite (Elite Squad) (2007)

In Feb. '04, I'd seen 102 of that 250, 109 of the updated list in 2005 and 129 of the 2006 list last December. At the end of 2007, it's 165/250 (66%), which can be divided as 90 from the top 100 and 75 from the remaining 150. That's quite a jump, but as I mentioned last time, I'd deliberately added as many of my omissions from the 2006 top hundred to my Amazon DVD Rental queue as were available. Most of the remaining omissions are still in the queue, yet to be despatched, but I've also added several from the new 101-250 range.

As one would expect, the lower rankings are more volatile than the 'core' top 100 which changes little year-to-year. It was particularly noticable that most of the new entries in the 101-75 range this year were 2007 releases, which might drop as initial enthusiasm wanes.
Using the 2004-2006 lists, I've now seen 87 (34 more), 89 (30 more) and 92 (21 more) of their top 100s, but 85 (31 more), 82 (33 more) and 77 (19 more) of their lower ranges; overall, that's 172/250, 171/250 and 169/250 respectively.

I'm a little uneasy about this exercise as renting films I don't expect to enjoy, simply to tick them off a list, would be pointless, trainspotter-type completism. Yet it's about enjoying films and broadening my knowledge, which has certainly succeeded. The extra prompt of films being on a 'hit list' has meant I've seen some good films I'd already planned to see but hadn't 'got round to', some I hadn't even heard of, and yes, some I enjoyed despite negative expectations. There have also been some I haven't enjoyed, but surprisingly few.

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