I have seen 7 of their top 50, and I consider myself to be a fairly big film fan. I think what this boils down to is film snobbery, the BFI has created a list which are films that people feel they ought to have seen to say they 'know' films. It's so pretentious, I could spend ages just ranting about that. But instead here's my own list, you may agree, you may disagree but at least you might have seen more than 7 of them.
1. Back to the Future
Probably the film I have seen the most, love it and am always amazed by how it zips along, even on the 99th viewing.
The Bond film that set the template for the every subsequent film (until Casino Royale at least). Connery in his pomp and more than one iconic image. Just perfect.
3. Scarface (1981)
Outstanding bravura performance by Pacino and love the comment on the derailment of the 'American dream'.
4. The Dark Knight
Another outstanding performance at its heart, but this is a great film that just happens to be based on a comic.
5. Rear Window
Is there a film with greater tension that this? My favourite Hitchcock.
6. The Godfather Part II
It's more of a play than a film but the contrasting fortunes of Vito Corleone and his son Michael is a thing of beauty.
The original summer blockbuster, and the thought of that music can still get me out of the bath quicker than you can shout "Robert Shaw".
8. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
My favourite of the Star Wars films, even if it's nowhere near as much fun as the first.
9. Die Hard.
The king of action movies, love it just for Alan Rickman's sneering German villain. Yippee...oh you know.
Always loved anything Superman, until 2006, but this is the pinnacle by which next year's will be judged by me.
11. Raging Bull
Beautifully shot, especially the fight scenes, and I love any film where the lead actor gets fat by eating horse meat just for two scenes. Dedication.
Messes with your mind and is thrilling in equal measure, like if Charlie Kauffman made a Bond film.
13. Toy Story
The perfect film for kids and adults alike to enjoy. Funny, exciting and heartbreaking.
This disturbed me as a kid, when I first watched it and it still puts my hairs on end, especially the scene where the real Mrs Bates is found in the cellar. Genius.
15. Casino Royale (2006)
Re-invented Bond for the post-Bourne era, the 'free running' chase through the building sites is one of the best ever Bond moments and Daniel Craig proved the doubters wrong. Bring on Skyfall.
16. The Truman Show
Its comments on reality tv are as relevant now as they were 13 years ago and the surreal feel really suits Jim Carrey's charming oddball performance.
17. The Raiders of the Lost Ark
I think Temple of Doom might be the better film, but the other two (YES, TWO) just don't come close to the sheer joy and sense of nostalgia for my childhood that I get from Raiders.
18. The Usual Suspects
Yeah, we all know the twist now but it's still one of the best films of its ilk and the shoot-out at the end is terrific.
The only comedy to make my list, its gag-rate is unsurpassable and there are a lot of belly laughs too, truly the funniest film ever made.
It took the first film and scaled it to a factor of a hundred. As scary as it is action-packed and one of the strongest female characters in cinema history. I just hope we never have a film dealing with the origins...
So there we go, the 20 greatest films of all time according to me. I hope you disagree.