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Site of the Week: The Greatest Films

Twelve years ago Tim Dirks had the idea to create a website that captured some of the greatest moments in classic cinema history, simply because he believed classic films were being short-changed on the Internet. “In the vast number of film-related sites on the Web,” he says, “there are only a few that have any content about classic films. My site was originally designed to help change the perception that classic films were old, irrelevant, black/white pictures of a bygone era.”

What he ended up creating was much bigger. “It was clear that each of the scenes needed to be placed in context,” he says. In almost no time, The Greatest Films had morphed into a site whose 100 Greatest Films list is constantly referenced by Roger Ebert and described in Variety as “hyper-detailed descriptions and historical analysis of each of the films so chosen, made available on a Web site that’s easy to browse and read.” Dirks’ site also includes a complete history of film organized by decades, an illustrated Film Terms Glossary, a history of the Greatest Visual and Special Effects and much much more.

“So many of our current films ‘borrow’ from older films,” Dirks says. “For instance, Billy Wilder’s ahead-of-its-time Ace in the Hole was the ’50s version of the ’70s Network and of the ’80s Broadcast News.” The end result, he says, is that anyone interested in films, either past or present, “can come to a deeper appreciation of how to watch motion pictures more intelligently, be more selective in viewing choices, and begin to understand the historical background and perspective of cinematic history.”

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