75 Best Edited Films of All Time (View #72)


Editors Guild Selects 75 Best Edited Films of All Time


Robert De Niro in Raging Bull
Photo: MGMScreen Shot 2018-01-16 at 9.33.17 AM

Now this is a list that could result in a lot of fascinating dissection and thanks to HitFix it comes to our attention almost three years after it was originally released back in 2012, celebrating the Motion Picture Editors Guild‘s 75th anniversary. Over at HitFix, Kris Tapley asks, “Is this news to anyone else?” Um, yes, I find it immensely interesting and a perfect starting point for anyone looking to further explore the art of film editing.

In an accompanying article we get the particulars concerning what films were eligible and how films were to be considered:

In our JAN-FEB 12 issue, we asked Guild members to vote on what they consider to be the Best Edited Films of all time. Any feature-length film from any country in the world was eligible. And by “Best Edited,” we explained, we didn’t just mean picture; sound, music and mixing were to be considered as well. Members could submit up to 10 film titles, numbered in order of preference. From those votes, we compiled the resulting list, weighting the films accordingly, and arrived at the 75 you will find in the following pages.

Statistically speaking, we get the following breakdown when it comes to years, directors and editors cited:

The Years

  1. 1970s – 17 films
  2. 1990s – 16 films
  3. 1960s – 13 films
  4. 1950s – 8 films
  5. 2000s – 7 films
  6. 1980s – 5 films
  7. 1940s – 3 films

No films from the ’30s were selected and four years account for 3 films each on the list: 1969, 1974, 1999 and 2001. The winning year is 1974, with all 3 of its titles in the top 31 films.

The Directors

  1. 5 Films – Alfred Hitchcock
  2. 4 Films – Steven Spielberg and Francis Ford Coppola
  3. 3 Films – Stanley Kubrick and Martin Scorsese
  4. 2 Films – Terrence Malick, Bob Fosse, William Friedkin, Akira Kurosawa, Christopher Nolan, Ridley Scott, Steven Soderbergh, Orson Welles and Bob Wise

The Editors

  1. 4 Films – George Tomasini
  2. 3 Films – Dede Allen, Michael Kahn and Thelma Schoonmaker
  3. 2 Films – Richard Chew, Anne V. Coates, Gerald B. Greenberg, Akira Kurosawa, Ray Lovejoy, Craig McKay, Sam O’Steen, Jay Rabinowitz, William Reynolds, Daniel Rezende, Pietro Scalia, Billy Weber and Peter Zinner

The Films

  1. Raging Bull (Thelma Schoonmaker, 1980)
  2. Citizen Kane (Robert Wise, 1941)
  3. Apocalypse Now (Lisa Fruchtman, Gerald B. Greenberg, Walter Murch, 1979)
  4. All That Jazz (Alan Heim, 1979)
  5. Bonnie and Clyde (Dede Allen, 1967)
  6. The Godfather (William H. Reynolds, Peter Zinner, 1972)
  7. Lawrence of Arabia (Anne V. Coates, 1962)
  8. Jaws (Verna Fields, 1975)
  9. JFK (Pietro Scalia, Joe Hutshing, 1991)
  10. The French Connection (Gerald B. Greenberg, 1971)
  11. The Conversation (Richard Chew, 1974)
  12. Psycho (George Tomasini, 1960)
  13. Battleship Potemkin (Grigori Aleksandrov, Sergei Eisenstein, 1925)
  14. Memento (Dody Dorn, 2000)
  15. Goodfellas (James Y. Kewi, Thelma Schoonmaker, 1990)
  16. Star Wars (Richard Chew, T.M. Christopher, Marcia Lucas, George Lucas, Paul Hirsch, 1977)
  17. City of God (Cidade de Deus) (Daniel Rezende, 2002)
  18. Pulp Fiction (Sally Menke, 1994)
  19. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Ray Lovejoy, 1968)
  20. Dog Day Afternoon (Dede Allen, 1975)
  21. Raiders of the Lost Ark (Michael Kahn, 1981)
  22. The Godfather Part II (Barry Malkin, Richard Marks, Peter Zinner, 1974)
  23. The Wild Bunch (Lou Lombardo, 1969)
  24. Saving Private Ryan (Michael Kahn, 1998)
  25. The Matrix (Zach Staenberg, 1999)
  26. The Silence of the Lambs (Craig McKay, 1991)
  27. Breathless (À Bout De Soufflé) (Cécile Decugis, 1960)
  28. Fight Club (James Haygood, 1999)
  29. Requiem for a Dream (Jay Rabinowitz, 2000)
  30. Cabaret (David Bretherton, 1972)
  31. Chinatown (Sam O’Steen, 1974)
  32. Moulin Rouge! (Jill Bilcock, 2001)
  33. Seven Samurai (Koichi Iwashita, Akira Kurosawa, 1954)
  34. Casablanca (Owen Marks, 1942)
  35. Inception (Lee Smith, 2010)
  36. Rope (William H. Zeigler, 1948)
  37. Schindler’s List (Michael Kahn, 1993)
  38. West Side Story (Thomas Stanford, 1961)
  39. The Fugitive (Dan Brochu, David Finfer, Dean Goodhil, Dov Hoenig, Richard Nord, Dennis Virkler, 1993)
  40. A Clockwork Orange (Bill Butler, 1971)
  41. 8 ½ (Leo Cattozzo, 1963)
  42. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Sheldon Kahn, Lynzee Klingman, 1975)
  43. Reds (Dede Allen, Craig McKay1981)
  44. The Shining (Ray Lovejoy, 1980)
  45. Days of Heaven (Billy Weber, 1978)
  46. Ben-Hur (Margaret Booth, John Dunning, Ralph E. Winters, 1959)
  47. Vertigo (George Tomasini, 1958)
  48. Apollo 13 (Daniel P. Hanley, Mike Hill, 1995)
  49. Rear Window (George Tomasini, 1954)
  50. Touch of Evil (Edward Curtiss, Walter Murch, Aaron Stell, Virgil W. Vogel, 1958)
  51. Living Russia (“Man with a Camera) (Dziga Vertov, 1929)
  52. The Graduate (Sam O’Steen, 1967)
  53. Out of Sight (Anne V. Coates, 1998)
  54. High Noon (Elmo Williams, 1952)
  55. Black Hawk Down (Pietro Scalia, 2001)
  56. Titanic (Conrad Buff IV, James Cameron, Richard A. Harris, 1997)
  57. The Limey (Sarah Flack, 1999)
  58. The Exorcist (Norman Gay, Jordan Leondopoulos, Bud S. Smith, Evan A. Lottman, 1973)
  59. Annie Hall (Wendy Greene Bricmont, Ralph Rosemblum, 1977)
  60. Rashomon (Akira Kurosawa, 1950)
  61. Sherlock, Jr. (Buster Keaton, Roy B. Yokelson, 1924)
  62. Speed (John Wright, 1994)
  63. L.A. Confidential (Peter Honess, 1997)
  64. The Sound of Music (William H. Reynolds, 1965)
  65. The Tree of Life (Hank Corwin, Jay Rabinowitz, Daniel Rezende, Billy Weber, Mark Yoshikawa, 2011)
  66. The Bourne Ultimatum (Christopher Rouse, 2007)
  67. Z (Françoise Bonnot, 1969)
  68. A Hard Day’s Night (John Jympson, 1964)
  69. Hugo (Thelma Schoonmaker, 2011)
  70. Midnight Cowboy (Hugh A. Robertson, 1969)
  71. Miller’s Crossing (Michael R. Miller, 1990)
  72. Blade Runner (Gillian L. Hutshing, Marsha Nakashima, Terry Rawlings, 1982)
  73. Mulholland Dr. (Mary Sweeney, 2001)
  74. Rocky (Scott Conrad, Richard Halsey, 1976)
  75. North by Northwest (George Tomasini, 1959)

Little Shop of Horrors: Director’s Cut ~ REVIEW


And the plants proceeded to grow and grow- and grow. And begin what they came here to do. Which was essentially to eat Cleveland and Des Moines and Peoria and New York and where you live! – Crystal Ronette & Chiffon

Back in the glorious time known as the 1980’s Frank Oz aka Miss Piggy teamed up with Allen Menken and Howard Ashman (of The Little Mermaid fame) to bring a musical about an evil intergalactic plant with a thirst for blood to the big screen. The result was in a word epic. Giant plant puppets, Ellen Greene and some of the best songs ever. I mean Suddenly Seymour?! How can you not just die listening to it!

But even in the perfect glorious 1980s there was an evil us film geeks know all too well. The studio executive! Upon screening of the original cut of the film, the ending was deemed much to grim by test audiences. SPOILER ALERT: In the original stage version, the blood thirsty Audrey II eats Audrey and then Seymour and proceeds to take over the world. Test screenings made it clear that the audience did not like the idea that the films leads would both not survive and that the film would end in total world domination. They scrapped the original ending, wrote new music and reshot scenes in order to provide a happy ending for Seymour and Audrey. Of course since this was the 1980s long before the era of bonus features the original ending would end up locked away from the light of day for years. Upon the initial release of the DVD in the late 90s had a terrible half assed black and white undubbed version of the ending. It was promptly recalled and for years fans had hoped for a full release.

This full release finally came to fruition and the world has been given Little Shop Of Horrors: The Director’s Cut! The last 25 minutes of the movie are completely different from what we all have seen. When Audrey II lures Audrey across the street to the shop, he reprises Suppertime and promptly proceeds to try and swallow her whole. Like in the theatrical version, Seymour arrives in time to pull Audrey from the mouth of the plant. But instead of a reprise of Suddenly Seymour we watch as Audrey pleads to Seymour to feed her to the plant once she has died. In a mournful reprise of Somewhere That’s Green she laments that if she is part of the plant then she can always be with him. Seymour tearfully feeds Audrey’s corpse to the plant and then flees to the roof about to kill himself. When a business man approaches to discuss plans to sell little Audrey IIs across America. Seymour tries to kill the plant as he realizes it’s true intentions. He seeks to destroy the plant and after the Mean Green Mother number is promptly eaten. Cue what is an epic number sung by Crystal, Chiffon and Ronette along with the ensemble. Finale Ultimo [Don’t Feed The Plants] starts with the girls singing in front of a giant American flag and then proceeds to show us how Audrey II’s children take over the world. With some truly epic miniature shots as they eat Cleveland  Des Moine, Peoria, New York and the world! They may offer you the world but don’t feed the plants!

Is this ending a bit depressing? Yes it is! But it is also SO much more grand in scale and just plain amazing. Yes everyone we grew to love is dead except the girls. But it gives us an amazing homage to giant monster movies and some amazing effects the likes of which will never again be seen in the modern era of CGI everything. Go get the DVD, download it do what you need to do but you really have to see the movie with the original ending!

Harrison Ford at Blade Runner: The Final Cut
Hollywood screening – Apr. 24, 2013

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AFI Arclight, 12 Classic Movies presented 7:00PM Apr 24, 2013