You don’t have to sell us on the awesomeness of The Empire Strikes Back. It’s easily the best of the Star Wars films, and definitely in the top 10 best science fiction films of all time as well, at least in my estimation. But is it the A-1 tippy-top very best movie of all time? A new poll claims yes, but I’m not so sure.
Empire Magazine polled 250,000 film fans to compile a list of the 301 greatest movies of all time. (Why 301? Who the hell knows.) This was a follow-up to a similar poll they conducted in 2008, but that one only involved 10,200 voters, and it declared The Godfather to be the best film of all time — certainly the sort of result you’d expect if you’re not keeping the poll sci-fi specific. Then again, I’m guessing Empire readers still skew toward the geeky, so I’m still not convinced that Empire Strikes Back would top the list in a broader survey.
Still, top the list it did, beating out The Godfather, The Dark Knight, and The Shawshank Redemption for the top spot. Honestly, while I might fiddle with the ordering — Blade Runner would be a lot higher than number 11, and Shawshank would be above Godfather on mine — their top 10 results are pretty solid. Check ’em out:
1. Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back
2. The Godfather
3. The Dark Knight
4. The Shawshank Redemption
5. Pulp Fiction
6. Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope
7. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
9. Raiders of the Lost Ark
Two out of the top 10 for Star Wars. Not bad. Science fiction is definitely well represented throughout the results, a strong showing that you don’t always see in more snooty, film snobbish lists. The fact that Citizen Kane isn’t in the top 10 probably made a cinephile somewhere spontaneously combust.
As we mentioned, Ridley Scott’s brilliant Blade Runner just misses out on the top 10 as number 11. Back to the Future, Jurassic Pack, and Aliens are numbers 17 – 19, with the original Alien coming in at 21, just after Apocalypse Now. Aliens might be the movie I rewatch a lot more than Alien, but I don’t know that I’d argue that it’s the better film of the two. And both of them top 2001: A Space Odyssey, easily one of the most influential science fiction films of all time. Which is only one slot above The Matrix.
James Cameron’s second Terminator film, Judgment Day, follows the same pattern as the first two Alien flicks, only more so. Judgment Day is #28, whereas the original Terminator is all the way down at #107, just above Predator (#108) and Avatar (#110), which, frankly, shouldn’t be anywhere near that high. Avatar better than Return of the Jedi, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the original RoboCop, and Children of Men? I think not. Avatar was a one-trick pony that went lame once you took off the fancy glasses.
Ghostbusters! All the way down at #63? Unforgivable! Nearly 20 slots below freaking Skyfall? Unconscionable! Nearly 30 behind Gravity? Ghostbusters is a 30-year-old movie that still holds up brilliantly. Gravity isn’t worthy to scrub the slime off of Ghostbusters.
Honestly, there’s plenty more bewilderment to dig through, but it’s all giving me a headache. Read the rest over at Empire. I’m off to rewatch Ghostbusters.