Rough Guide Movie Books: Pick a Canon


You may not have known this, but The Rough Guide to Sci-Fi Movies was just one of four Rough Guide Movie books released on the same day. I just got sent the other three today (along with some very cool postcards based on the cover of my book), and I thought I would show them off: The Rough Guides to Gangster, Comedy and Horror Movies, respectively. All four books have more or less the same format: chapters on the history of the genre, icons of the field, examples of the genre from around the world, and so on. Each also includes "The Canon" of its field — the 50 most significant movies in the genre.

When I listed the science fiction canon here, motivated individuals took it and made a blog meme out of it; I think it would be fun to do the same with these other canons. But where to begin? This is where you come in: On Monday I’ll post the canon of one of these books and note my thoughts on the selections. But as to which canon, I’ll put it up to a vote. Tell me in the comments which canon you’d like to see: The one from Gangster, the one from Comedy, or the one from Horror. The one that gets the most votes when I sit down to write on Monday wins. One vote each,  please (no, I’m not going to check to see if people are cheating. Just, you know, don’t be that guy).  

Which do you choose? 

56 Comments on “Rough Guide Movie Books: Pick a Canon”

  1. I think Comedy would be the hardest to whittle down to 50 entries, so I’ll pick it as well. That should make for a nice debate!

  2. “People called Romanes they go the house.”

    From one of the best comedies of all time.

    What? Oh yeah.

    Comedies, please.

  3. Comedy for sure…I suppose I don’t really get into gangster movies much, and being the pansy I am, can’t watch horror movies unless vampires are involved (why the fascination with vampires I have no idea).

  4. I vote Comedy… be stricken from the available options on account of its overwhelming lead at this moment in time.

    It’s not fair to the other genre of movies to have a clear front-runner of this sort.

    Or rather, what I was trying to say is… I have nothing menaingful to add to this vote, because I’d be interested in seeing any of the three lists.

  5. I vote gangsters, because Christopher Walken is right there on the cover, and who can turn him down?

  6. A vote for Comedy from me, as well! (on the basis that I’m likely to have seen at least a few of the films on the list, unlike the other two where I doubt I’ll have seen even one).

  7. Wow. I thought for sure Horror would be kicking butt. I guess most people are horror’ed out after just watching them all for Halloween.

  8. Interesting that the cover of the Comedy book is from “Life of Brian”, not usually touted as the best of the Python movies. People usually rush to “Holy Grail”

  9. I also vote comedy, and my thought on the Rough Guide was indeed that they ought to have used _Holy Grail_. (I rewatched _Life of Brian_ recently and fell asleep during it. I mean, yeah, I was tired; but I can’t imagine falling asleep during _Holy Grail_.)

  10. There are 50 canonical gangster movies? I’m not sure I could get above naming 20 of any sort without help. That list would be more of a learning experience for me than the other two, where I’d expect to have seen 90% of the comedies and some smaller percentage of the horror movies.

  11. How about war movies? Oh wait, that’s not on the list.

    Oh well – I already voted so I won’t do it again.

  12. I wasn’t going to vote, because it looks like comedy has a pretty strong lead, but you never can tell.


  13. Let’s see… Comedy is just more fun, but with Horror we get to see a possible overlap with your SciFi list… Gangster movies? What editor woke up with a horse’s head in his bed and decided to give them their own book?

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