I have officially begun my project to watch or re-watch the films listed on the British Film Institute’s list of the 50 Greatest Films of All Time. I decided I wanted to watch the films in chronological order, so last weekend, I watched Battleship Potemkin and The General, neither of which I had seen before.
I found both of them fascinating and certainly well-deserving to be on the list. I am pretty certain that I won’t feel this way about all the films. Battleship Potemkin is ranked 11th on the BFI list and The General 34th.
I was especially enamored with The General. I hate to admit this, but I had not seen any Buster Keaton silent films before and was struck by the daring ingeniousness of The General. I was amazed to find out later that it was based on actual events. Although I have seen plenty of silent films, I’m still struck by how engaging and mesmerizing they can be.
Both films were quite the endeavor for their times, The General for the sheer inventiveness of the chase and Battleship Potemkin for its epic scale.
There are different versions of these films available, but I recommend the restored versions put out by Kino Lorber.
I am going to keep updating my GFOAT page to mark off the movies I see, but I am also going to start making a new list as I go along with my own rankings of the films.
So, after 2 films, my list looks like this:
- The General (1926)
- Battleship Potemkin (1925)
Up next: Sunrise, A Song of Two Humans