Fun Post your own version of AFI's 50 screen legends

Discussion in 'Trivia: Best & Worst' started by Nick91, Feb 11, 2017.

  1. Nick91

    Nick91 Member: Rank 2

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    Hey there. Time for my first thread here! In June 1999, the American Film Institute (AFI) presented a list of the :emoji_two::emoji_five: greatest screen legends of each gender. You have probably come across the list on Wikipedia or elsewhere if you are interested in classic cinema. If not, please click here.

    As you can see, the criterias for being eligible for selection are as follows:
    In total, there were 500 nominees, 250 per gender. You can read the full list in AFI's PDF file.

    Recently, I have been thinking about how my own list would look like. Not only in terms of which names I would include, but also what the internal rankings would be. The two lists are hierarchial in descending order, so the all-time greatest Hollywood star is ranked #1, the second-greatest at #2, etcetera.

    While I consider myself to be someone who has seen a significant amount of old movies, 500 names are still a lot to go through and it is possible that some of them were more famous in their heyday than I'm aware of. So rather than creating a definite list immediately, I'll probably make a few preliminary versions in the beginning as I do more research.

    Since the compendium starts with the male actors, I'll start from there as well. To begin with, the two most surprising entries are John Beluschi & Divine (Harris Milstead) :emoji_interrobang: I would never in a million years consider them to be of the classic cinema era, but I guess they fall into the following caveat in the criteria: ”...whose screen debut occurred after 1950 but whose death has marked a completed body of work.” A bit arbitrary, isn't it?

    Since the top 25 equals to 10% of the total amount of 250, a logical starting point for compiling a list would be to see if a) any of the other 90% snubbed by AFI are worthy of a spot and b) if any of AFI's chosen 10% are replaceable. If the answer to both questions are ”yes”, then my list will deviate from the official one, and vice versa for ”no”.

    The difficulty arises when there are too many good candidates and not enough spots. I suspect that any list compiled by anybody would be bound to leave others unsatisfied with the outcome.

    Since this is a vey long opening post already, AFI's list is hidden in the spoiler below.

    1. Humphrey Bogart :emoji_trophy:
    2. Cary Grant
    3. James Stewart
    4. Marlon Brando
    5. Fred Astaire
    6. Henry Fonda
    7. Clark Gable
    8. James Cagney
    9. Spencer Tracy
    10. Charlie Chaplin
    11. Gary Cooper
    12. Gregory Peck
    13. John Wayne
    14. Laurence Olivier
    15. Gene Kelly
    16. Orson Welles
    17. Kirk Douglas
    18. James Dean
    19. Burt Lancaster
    20. The Marx Brothers
    21. Buster Keaton
    22. Sidney Poitier
    23. Robert Mitchum
    24. Edward G. Robinson
    25. William Holden

    Hmm, this list is really packed with great acting legends. Having to potentially remove any of them will be tough. Although I might change my mind later, I think that Burt Lancaster, Sidney Poitier, Robert Mitchum, Edward G. Robinson & William Holden (most at the bottom of the list) are replaceable.

    Remember, we are talking about the Mount Rushmore of movie stardom here, so being a star isn't enough. You have to be a megastar, and I don't really see someone such as Robinson having had a great enough impact in the motion picture industry.

    Who would I be willing to include instead? Drum roll please! :emoji_drum:

    Laurel & Hardy
    are so universally iconic that they're my first choice (they count as one entry, like the Marx Brothers). Another person I would add from the same era is Rudolph Valentino, whose fame has stood the test of time, not least because of his relatively early demise á la James Dean.

    Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby also crossed my mind, but were they equally great as movie star as they were singers? Does their fame derive from a combination of both? Unlike fellow nominee Louis Armstrong, both Sinatra and Crosby were critically acclaimed for their acting abilities, with Academy Awards to prove it.

    Another person that I feel had enough star quality is Errol Flynn, although he will have to battle it out with many other strong candidates.

    So to sum it up:

    In: Laurel & Hardy, Rudolph Valentino, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby & Errol Flynn.
    Out: Burt Lancaster, Sidney Poitier, Robert Mitchum, Edward G. Robinson & William Holden.

    What would your own lists look like? Or are you happy with AFI's list? Feel free to share your own opinions about this.
     
    #1 Nick91, Feb 11, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2017
  2. Elessar

    Elessar Member: Rank 2

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    Your In is good. Those are the names that mark an era (they often refered to Errol Flynn as a symbol of a certain sort of movies, he deserves the place).

    Your Out: The last 2 names I can pass by, but the first 3 did play a role in the movie industry of their time.

    I would want to add Alec Guinness in the list.
     
    #2 Elessar, Feb 11, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2017
  3. elanor

    elanor Member: Rank 3

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    I agree with your last two: Edward G. Robinson & William Holden.

    Burt Lancaster and Robert Mitchum definitely qualify for me. I have my doubts about Sidney Poitier.
    So I have to add two or three new male screen legends: Richard Burton, Anthony Quinn. This one also would qualify for me: Alec Guinness
     
  4. Nick91

    Nick91 Member: Rank 2

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    Elessar & Elanor, it seems like we all have a consensus about Bill Holden and Edward Robinson not belonging in the top 25. The thing about Robert Mitchum, for me at least, is that he didn't have a single truly iconic film unlike many of the others. He just doesn't seem like the type of person who, unlike any of my five "ins", people on the street would recognize either by face or by name. Lancaster is a bit harder to let go of, though.

    Eleanor, I'm curious to hear your doubts about Poitier to see if they're the same as mine. What he managed to accomplish career-wise, despite all the hardships that African-Americans had to endure in Hollywood back in the days, was impressive. However, the competition is tough and I think that there are actors out there with a better resume.

    Guinness, Burton & Quinn are all good names to consider too. Maybe not in my own top 25, but pretty close to it. Next up for me will be to rank my selections, which will be the hardest part. At least I have an idea who I will have at the very top!
     
  5. elanor

    elanor Member: Rank 3

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    That's my thinking as well. I just feel not as impressed by his work as by Guinness, Burton & Quinn. Yet I felt doubtful to remove the one African-American actor.
     
  6. Carol

    Carol Member: Rank 5

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    Especially as Sir Sidney is from The Bahamas anyway - just such a very good actor that most Americans probably think he IS African-American.
     
  7. elanor

    elanor Member: Rank 3

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    For me as a European the Bahamas, located north of Cuba, belong to America, just as Cuba is for me an isle belonging to the American hemisphere. I assumed he is a descendant of African slaves deported to the American hemisphere. But I didn't know that he is from the Bahamas and not from the USA. Thanks for the information.
     
  8. Carol

    Carol Member: Rank 5

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    You're welcome! I think since Britain got over the whole Empire thing and former colonies asserted their independence and joined into the Commonwealth, The Bahamas very much belong to the Bahamans (or is it Bahamians?) Trust me, I'd love to be able to afford the sort of holiday where I got to go there and ask!
     

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