Spielberg, Streep and Grant top Zagat survey, which holds interesting stats on 3-D, home video

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: All lists are subjective, and most movie lists are flawed. But if there’s a constant when it comes to compilations, it’s that they always stimulate great debate.

I’m loving the results of a Zagat survey released this morning in support of a new guide titled “The World’s Best Movies.” The guide, according to a release, is based on the input of 20,773 moviegoers who voted on ZAGAT.com and selected the top actors, actresses, directors and their films.

“This new survey puts the ratings and reviews of over 20,000 avid moviegoers at your fingertips so that no matter what your age, sex or preference, there’s an easy way to find the perfect film for every occasion,” said Tim Zagat, CEO and co-founder of Zagat Survey.

So what did we learn?

The top 20 films of all time, based on overall quality, are:
The Godfather (1972)
The Godfather Part II (1974)
Casablanca (1942)
Schindler’s List (1993)
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
Star Wars (1977)
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Lady Eve (1941)
Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
Rear Window (1954)
It Happened One Night (1934)
Citizen Kane (1941)
Shawshank Redemption (1994)
All About Eve (1950)
The Pianist (2002)
African Queen (1951)
Third Man (1949)
Finding Nemo (2003)
Dr. Strangelove (1964)

See any surprises? I’d say naming Andrew Stanton’s “Finding Nemo” as the only animated film on that list is a bit of a surprise (and I’m deeply in love with that film, but don’t think I’d put it ahead of “Pinocchio,” “Beauty and the Beast” or even “Toy Story”). And how about Polanski’s “The Pianist?” That shocked me.

Zagat went to break it down by director, saying Frank Capra’s best film was “It Happened One Night,” John Ford’s greatest was “Grapes of Wrath,” Alfred Hitchcock’s best is “Rear Window,” Stanley Kubrick’s finest is “Dr. Strangelove,” and Steven Spielberg’s greatest is “Schindler’s List.”

Speaking of Spielberg, he was named the all-time favorite director according to the survey, while favorite actor titles went to Cary Grant and Meryl Streep. Analyzing top films by decade, Zagats came up with the following list.
1920s: The General
1930s: Wizard of Oz
1940s: Casablanca
1950s: Singin’ in the Rain
1960s: Lawrence of Arabia
1970s: The Godfather
1980s: Raiders of the Lost Ark
1990s: Schindler’s List
2000s: The Pianist

And while lists are fun for discussion, there were telling figures buried in the survey that should catch the eye of industry insiders. According to the survey, 37 percent of film fans who watch movies at home say they watch movies on a portable device such as a laptop, portable DVD player or on the iPad or iPod Touch. Furthermore, 35 percent rent movies online that arrive in the mail, 21 percent watch movies that are on or recorded from TV, 12 percent rent a movie at a store, and 12 percent go out and buy a movie.

The survey also floats a few balloons for 3-D films, and learned that 54 percent of those polled say a movie in 3-D is fun occasionally, and 9 percent wish more were offered. However, 65 percent say they’re not interested in having 3-D technology at home.

“Here’s Looking at You, Kid: The World’s Best Movies” guide is available. To learn more, visit www.zagat.com.

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