I actually think The Third Man and Brief encounter are crap.
I agree that BFI ratings are unrealistic and not to everyone's taste but to call The Third Man as "crap" is harsh IMO. You are entitled to your opinion of course, but a lot of us think that it is a great classic. But certainly not the British No #1, probably not even in the top 10; it is a sort of a film that takes a few viewings to grow on you.
As for A Brief Encounter, I fully agree that it is a grossly overrated romantic nonsense. I was struggling to keep awake the only time I saw it and have no desire to see it ever again.
Not really Douglas. At least one could argue that is 'contemporary' as opposed to 1949. I just don't go along with the notion that particular films are deserving of such permanent high positions. It also reflects badly on the work of more current directors and actors.
What on earth has when a film was made got to do with how good it is?
Nothing directly, but contemporary values might influence reviews depending on the theme of the story. Take 12 Angry Men for instance; a great classic anytime and anyplace, but if the same film was made exactly the same way now in a contemporary setting and without there being the original for comparison, there would be more than a few feathers ruffled at the all male & all white jury. Some have even commented that it was rather unusual even in 1957.
Of course, costume dramas and historical films have to reflect the attitude of the day irrespective of when they were actually made. But with contemporary themes, racist overtones and sexism were accepted in the 50s and even 60s but not now. How many times have we heard the hero or some other male actor tell a female character "this is no place for a woman" in an annoyingly patronising manner in older films?
I actually think The Third Man and Brief encounter are crap. Both for their gross exaggerations . . .
'Gross exaggerations' of what, may I ask? Exaggerated camera technique, perhaps, in the case of The Third Man? Exaggerated what in Brief Encounter? I really don't fully understand what you're getting at, Korkykat. And why don't you let us know what you might have put at the top of the list if the BFI had thought you worthy of asking.
Actually in terms of these sorts of lists in general, I think it is unwise to include anything made in the last decade since if we're talking about concepts of greatness, it is impossible to properly evaluate something's position when it is recent. You need a period of time to pass to sort it out. After all, I recall that some Spice Girls album featured near the top in some albums list in 2000 - where would it be now?
I think The Third Man is overrated also, but just adore Brief Encounter. I'm not particularly aggrieved to see them both in the BFI's top 10 though, as I know how much they're aggrandised amongst critics.
I don't think there's much point in expending too much energy arguing over this one. The original post just reeks of the powerful and unpleasant smell of the troll. It's very difficult to imagine any serious intent behind a post which applies words like "pathetic" & "crap" to these films.
Suffice to say that if the OP can't understand the high regard in which these films are held after viewing them it's unlikely anyone could explain it to him.