Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Here are the Unofficial Changes for the 2014 Edition of the 1,001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

Believe it or not I was finally going to post a movie review again tonight, but when I checked email I saw that a comment had been left on the Books section I maintain on the 1,001 Movies wiki.  Lo and behold an anonymous commenter (Sep 20 edit: the person who deserves credit for the first notice is Andy Stout;  see his comment below) left what he or she said were the upcoming changes for the 2014 edition which they had gotten from the official site.  The book doesn’t officially come out for two more months, so I was slightly skeptical, but very intrigued.

I went out to the official site and did not find anything listing changes, but I noticed that the list of the current entries did include one of the new ones – 12 Years a Slave.  I tend to discount the list on the official site since whenever I had looked at it in the past it was always a few years out of date.  In this case though, I checked and several of the films I was told were added were indeed in the list at the site, and several of the ones I was told were removed were indeed not on this list.

I have not gone through entry by entry – I will wait until I have the physical book in front of me to compare with last year’s – but for right now I have little reason to believe the following updates I’m listing are made up.

The 13 films added to the list:

12 Years a Slave (2013)
The Act of Killing (2012)
American Hustle (2013)
Blancanieves (2012)
Blue is the Warmest Color (2013)
Gravity (2013)
The Great Beauty (2013)
Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)
Nebraska (2013)
Nostalgia for the Light (2010)
A Touch of Sin (2013)
Wadjda (2012)
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

The 13 films removed from the list:

1080. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
1083. The Departed (2006)
1096. No Country for Old Men (2007)
1116. Inglorious Basterds (2009)
1125. Of Gods and Men (2010)
1127. The King's Speech (2010)
1134. Le Havre (2011)
1135. Shame (2011)
1139. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)
1140. Bridesmaids (2011)
1148. Les Miserables (2012)
1150. Argo (2012)
1152. Skyfall (2012)

I won’t get into numbering the new entries yet for a couple of reasons.  First, as I mentioned I am waiting until I have the official book in front of me to compare.  (I’ve found errors in their official website’s list and in their book’s indexes before).  And second, last year’s updates to the 1001 Movies Blog Club list used a different method of inserting additions than had been used in prior years.  It ensured that the order of the entries in the published book exactly matched the order in the numbered list, with the removed entries placed at the ends of their years.

Now that there are far fewer updates again, do we go back to the old method (just add new entries to the end of their years and number accordingly) or stick with the newer method (insert movies in place where they are in the book, shift the removed ones to the ends of their years, and renumber all subsequent entries)?  For what it’s worth, I feel that since we went to the effort of completely renumbering the list last year for the new method, that we should now stay consistent with it.  This means needing to wait until the book is published before being able to number them, though.

Of the new additions, there are five I have not seen: The Act of Killing, Blancanieves, Nostalgia for the Light, A Touch of Sin, and Wadjda.  I’ve never even heard of Nostalgia for the Light and A Touch of Sin.  I’ve heard good things about Wadjda and it’s been in my Netflix queue for a while already.  The concept of The Act of Killing sounded kind of goofy, but to be fair I never looked into it.  All I know about Blancanieves is that it is about a female bullfighter.

Of the eight new films I have seen, the only one that surprises me is Inside Llewyn Davis.  While some critics liked it, it’s definitely a lesser Coen Brothers film.  Maybe the editors felt that since they were removing the Coens’ No Country for Old Men they owed it to them to add their latest movie to the list.  Who knows?  I’d be willing to bet that this will be a “one and done” list entry and that it will be gone next year.

Of the films they are removing I’m not really surprised by any of them.  The Departed causes me to raise an eyebrow somewhat, but even that isn’t exactly a unique, special, or must see film.  The aforementioned No Country for Old Men has its fans – and like fellow removees The Departed, The King’s Speech, and Argo it won the Best Picture Oscar – but it never did much for me.

I will take this space to say “Good Riddance” to Bridesmaids.

So, moving forward with the assumption that these are the true changes, where can we find them?

12 Years a Slave (2013) – Available on DVD

The Act of Killing (2012) – Available on DVD and streaming on Netflix.  Note: this is for the theatrical version.  Netflix also offers a Director’s Cut of it Streaming only.  Until we can see the entry in the book we will not know for sure which version is the one the editors are adding.

American Hustle (2013) – Available on DVD

Blancanieves (2012) – Available on DVD and streaming on Netflix

Blue is the Warmest Color (2013) – Available on DVD and streaming on Netflix

Gravity (2013) – Available on DVD

The Great Beauty (2013) – Available on DVD

Inside Llewyn Davis (2013) – Available on DVD

Nebraska (2013) – Available on DVD

Nostalgia for the Light (2010) – Available on DVD

A Touch of Sin (2013) – Available on DVD and streaming on Netflix

Wadjda (2012) – Available on DVD

The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) – Available on DVD


  1. For what it's worth, The Great Beauty is currently streaming on Hulu Plus.

    I agree with you on waving goodbye to Bridesmaids, which I thought was seriously overrated. Losing No Country is a mistake in my opinion. I object to a few of the others as well, but in my opinion, that's the big loss here.

    Once again, I'm left with the feeling that a portion of this list consists of the editors smugly showing us how smart they are by picking obscure films and dumping some great ones to make space for their egos.

    1. The thing that ran through my head most on the removals was "bad year for the Best Picture Oscar films."

      I'll see what I think when I see the four I hadn't been planning on watching. I've already mentioned in an earlier post that I didn't think The Great Beauty was all that great. It's not a bad movie, but not one I would have figured would sweep the Oscars, Golden Globes, and BAFTAs for Best Foreign Language Film.

      I was really impressed with both actresses in Blue Is the Warmest Color, especially Adele Exarchopoulos. I would have at the very least nominated her for Best Actress. I've seen Lea Seydoux in a few other films and she seems to have always done a good job.

  2. Yeah, if this is true I'm a little more appalled at the removals than tsk-tsking the obscurity of some of the additions, especially the removal of The Departed and No Country for Old Men to add Llewyn Davis and Wolf of Wall Street. I feel Chip is correct that they remove from the later years to avoid the hassle of restructuring the entire thing, and it was for that reason that I was left a little aghast that they didn't take the chance to beef up the 2000s in the 10th; that decade is now the shortest in the book, aside from the 1900s and 1910s (and of course the incomplete 2010s, but it seems to be only a matter of time before that one passes it even before the decade is out).

    But, then again, it seems anyone who decides to get serious about going through the list goes through all of it, including the removals, so there's not too much loss I guess.

    1. I wish they had put back some of the 2000s, too, especially Amelie, but I also wished they had added the much superior Harold Lloyd film Safety Last! over the other film they've got on the list to represent him.

      And for what it's worth, I loved The Wolf of Wall Street so I don't have a problem with it being added. It was my favorite among the nine Oscar Best Picture nominees. Inside Llewyn Davis was probably my least favorite nominee.

  3. I've seen all of the new additions, except Nostalgia for the Light.

    A Touch of Sin (2013) I liked, and is told as a series of short films. Warns about things we all know already, such as the danger of weapons etc, yet are important reminders. These problems are sadly still common, I figure that's what the director is saying.
    The brief moments of animal torture are painful to watch, killing a duck, and whipping a horse, but does serve a purpose as a warning not to harm animals I think.

    Wadjda (2012) I thought was overrated and the story too slight, could have been a short film. Mainly got recognition because it was first feature-length film made by a female Saudi director, and first feature film shot entirely in Saudi Arabia, so that's probably why it's considered important.

    Blancanieves (2012) impressed me a lot with its visual style, and is worth seeing just for that alone.

    The Act of Killing (2012) is a bit overlong and a slightly repetitive documentary(I saw the 3h version), but the concept is original and thought-provoking. Extraordinary that these killers are free to walk the streets and wanted to take part in the film. They fluctuate between pride, pain, and guilt, and seem to have been inspired by gangster films and westerns, which is quite shocking. I sensed the filming was therapeutic for the killers. Are they guilty, or merely following orders? The documentary humanizes them, so they are not simply ruthless killers, and so we see their side of the story.

    1. Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts on these films. The fifth - Nostalgia for the Light - sounds interesting, although hopefully not too preachy about the politics in that country.

  4. Ah well, I cannot really be bothered by what they take off the list, instead I am wondering if the editors sincerely believes this is the ultimate list anymore. Weeding out the 00'es to make room for new movie makes this a very thin decade and that is hardly credible. Instead maybe it was time for them to admit that this is a growing list and include all the movies that ever were on the list. If they insist on the 1001 tag they can always include the rest in appendix or whatever. To me there is only one list and that is the complete one. New editions are making themselves less and less relevant and I only really care for what has been added.

    1. I agree that it is the whole list that is important to me. The new editions haven't become less relevant for me, though. I'm always interested each year to see what the changes will be - both additions and removals.

  5. Glad they included: Wadjda, Nebraksa, The Act of Killing (though it is hard to sit through)

    Sorry to see go: No Country for Old Men, Skyfall and Inglorious Basterds

    Think The Departed should have been replaced with Infernal Affairs.

    Thanks for the heads up! I didn't think there would be a new list this year after 2013's megalist.

    1. For some reason I didn't get an email when you left this comment. Sorry for the long time before responding.

      I liked Wadjda quite a bit and it is my favorite of the films I had not yet seen that got added.

  6. Found this blog; I was the one who posted at the other site about the changes to the list. Thanks for organizing all these various lists! I'm agreed with everyone that the remaining list of movies in the 2000s is the weirdest list for its decade, though that could be due to our greater familiarity with the movies of the 2000s than anything else. It's likely also a byproduct of the boring way they were updating the list for years, just adding most of the current Best Picture nominees, combined with choices of unadventurous foreign films.

    1. Thanks for letting me know it was you who left the wiki comment. I've updated this post to give credit where credit is due.

      I agree that the 2000s are the worst represented. They removed too many because it was easier to update the book from year to year then when they redid the entire list last year it's almost as if adding back in too many would have been an acknowledgment that maybe they were wrong to remove them in the first place.

  7. Personally I won't miss either The Departed or No Country, both of which I think have been monstrously overrated.

    Have to disagree with you also on the merits of Safety Last over The Kid Brother. The former is, basically, an admittedly amazing stunt sequence with a somewhat thin set-up to justify its existence, whereas the latter works much better as a complete film from go to whoa.

    I think the point about the list no longer being the "ultimate" is well made, though. The list has always had problems with overall balance, and the way in which it tries to keep up to date with new films does it no favours. When the BFI issued their 360 Classics list in the mid-90s, the compiler explained why the most recent film on the list was from 1981, i.e. because he thought films needed that amount of time to establish themselves. Maybe 1001 Movies needs a similar cutoff, maybe 10 years like the Library of Congress, so we get a better sense of what recent films have maintained their reputation as opposed to just being the briefly fashionable hit of the season.

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      Adding new movies every year is primarily a marketing thing and only secondarily a movie thing. We like to disagree with some choices, but I don't think too many people get that hung up on what does and doesn't make it year to year. You could almost start with a list of 50 acclaimed movies and flip coins for each one until you got it down to about a dozen, and you'd probably have as good a chance as anybody (like me) who tries to predict what will get added.

      In regards to the "ultimate" list, cutting films off from making the list if they are too recent, and whether Kid Brother is a better overall movie than Safety Last!, that's not what the list is about. It's not intended to be the 1,001 best movies of all time, or most well made movies or all time, or even most popular movies of all time. It's intended to represent a cross section of every kind of movie, genre, and major careers that we have had in the history of movies. There are many examples on the list where someone may have had better overall movies, but the list's editors picked one from earlier in their career when they were becoming the artist that they are now known as.

      If you are looking for a list that attempts to truly be the ultimate list of the best movies of all time, then check out my recent post on the They Shoot Pictures Don't They list. It was in September.