Monday, August 2, 2010

Favorite Movies

I always wondered if there were a poll of Americans that asks what their favorite movie is, like this one for England. It turns out there is one, from 2008, and contrary to my claim in an an earlier post, Gone with the Wind was #1.

Star Wars, the favorite in England, is #2. I think a response of any of the Star Wars movies counted for Star Wars, or many people who consider the trilogy their favorite and just said "Star Wars" because it seems odd that Star Wars was #2 and Empire didn't make the cut.

What is very surprising is that The Godfather comes it at #9. That may be a product of The Godfather - Part 2 siphoning off votes. Many people consider these two movies their favorites, but they are strongly divided about which is better (The Godfather is il migliore.)

Also revealing is that The Shawshank Redemption didn't make the list, but Forrest Gump did. I've long thought that IMDb and other sources were biased in favor of Shawshank because young people like it but old people don't. Given that Shawshank is #3 in the English poll, I suspect that there is a big divide between Americans and foreigners too. It's probably not that shocking, though, that Gump, which crushed Shawshank at the box office, is more popular. (I think it Gump is a vastly superior feel-good story.)

The box office, which I've long championed as an underrated measure of people's tastes, is also a good predictor for other films such as The Sound of Music. Gender, touch on in another post, biases most polls--with that bias removed The Notebook leaps into the top 10.

Raiders of the Lost Ark is another notable absence. My guess is that is because while everyone (all age groups, both genders) like Raiders, I don't know many people who consider it their favorite.

Would The Dark Knight make the list if another poll was done today? If it did which movie would lose the most ground? My guess is The Lord of the Rings, which was #4, might drop a few spots but would stay on the list.

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