We’re Ryan and Bev Ellis, married and loving it. We have achieved our mission of watching and reviewing every single one of the 123 movies that made the 1998 and 2007 lists of the American Film Institute’s 100 greatest American movies of all time. The hook? We watched them in chronological order to better grasp the historical context of each film, starting with 1915’s The Birth Of A Nation and finishing with 2001’s The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring.

So who are we? We’re just a pair of devout film buffs who love talking about movies and listening to others do the same. We call Toronto home and we share those 4 walls and usually a roof with our dogs Sam & Tilly. We both have careers in television, so we’ve been movie-adjacent for decades.

Spoiler alert! We spoil everything, so you should watch these pictures before you listen to each podcast. Ryan’s bad about dropping the dime on any old movie, for that matter, so watch out.

For more information about the AFI and what criteria the filmmakers, journalists, and historians used to cast their votes, go to AFI.com. Check us out on Twitter @moviefiend51 for Ryan and @bevellisellis for Bev. And we’ve been on iTunes almost from the beginning. Search “Top 100 Project” to find our entirely free catalogue, available now for download.

26 thoughts on “ABOUT THE ELLISES

  1. Ryan & Bev – just wanted to let you know how much I am enjoying your Top 100 podcast. Out of the 10 podcasts I am currently subscribed to, it is the first one I listen to when a new episode is available. Thanks for going right to the topic – so many film podcasts I have sampled usually have 10 minutes of uninteresting banter before getting to the topic.

    I found your podcast on iTunes when you were reviewing films from the mid 30’s, and have enjoyed your balanced and comprehensive look at each of the AFI films since. Just a couple of corrections…

    1) Charles Laughton was never considered for the role of Nicholson in “Bridge on the River Kwai”. I have a David Lean interview book, and he became very upset when asked about this, saying no one would believe Charles Laughton as a starving in a prisoner of war camp.

    2) You mentioned all the AFI films Martin Balsam (one of my favorite character actors) was in – you missed “12 Angry Men”

    In any case, thanks for not quitting the show halfway through the list (that seems to be common in the podcast world). Do you have any show ideas for when you complete the list? Also, I am curious if you have seen the 10 episode DVD set that does a synopsis of all the films on the original list?


    1. This is Ryan. Bev is gonna be happy to hear your lovely words, so thanks, Jeff. We appreciate you listening to us, but also that you’re enjoying what we’re saying. Mucho gracias!

      As for Laughton not being up for BOTRK, I read that he was in the running on either (or both) IMDb and Wiki. I tend to agree with what you said about what HE said (and I think I made the point that his corpulence would’ve seemed wrong in the BOTRK podcast), but if he was never even considered in the first place, then mea culpa.

      One point I’ve made a few times lately is that ANY big star might be considered for a blockbuster project, so we try not to dwell on that too much. Brando, for one, was probably in line to play all 4 roles in Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf…at the same time! Then again, he had become a crazy pain in the ass by then, so maybe only the Richard Burton role might have been his. 😉

      I remember missing a Balsam film when listing his credits during one of the ‘casts. I caught that during editing, but didn’t want to re-record and have it sound all post-productioned. I flogged myself appropriately (and Bev can vouch that I’m only 1/3rd kidding about that).

      As for quitting, nope, we’re in it for the long haul, especially now that we’re more than halfway done. Emails like this help keep us motivated! Getting a real sponsor helped too. And I don’t know what I’d do with my time if I didn’t spend hours every week on pre- and post-production. My anality would have to be misused somewhere else.

      Future ideas? Been thinking about covering some of the nominees that missed the cut (especially major titles we don’t cover as Not 100 Project flicks). Maybe do the Top 10s of the other lists (Laughs, Passions, Thrills). The Sight & Sound list would be an intriguing topic to cover.

      Oh yeah, we OWN that DVD you’re talking about. I’ve had it for probably 13 years and have watched all or part of it many times. The James Woods narration is often pointless (not that it’s his fault, they wrote it for him), but sometimes it’s given me ideas or inspirations for where our podcasts can go.

      Again, thanks, Jeff. I’ll let Bev take a look at your message when she gets home. I’m sure her smile will be wide and bright. Spread the word about us, good sir!

  2. Hey!
    Bev here, and my smile is indeed wide and bright 🙂
    Thank you so much for taking the time to write to us. It means a lot to know we’re your first listen!
    I will vouch for Ryan that he cares a great deal about getting facts right, so we also appreciate the corrections.
    We talk a fair amount about what we’ll replace The Top 100 Project with once we’re through the list. But we have over a year to go so it still feels pretty far in the future. There’s lots of great, classic foreign films we’d love to cover. But some ‘best of…’ lists would fun, and probably far more likely to generate interest and get listens.
    Thanks again, and tell your friends! 🙂

  3. Hello, my name is Eve, I’m 17 from Vancouver, Apocalypse Now is the greatest film I’ve ever seen, and I love the podcast. Luckily I have my sisters to discuss my movie obsessions with since most seventeen year olds have no interest in discussing films made before the Breakfast Club. If you guys take requests, I would love to hear episodes about American Beauty and Mulholland Drive, two of my favourite films. Thank you!

    1. Thanks for the message and the listenership, Eve. You have excellent taste in flicks, especially for someone so young. 🙂 Interesting that you’d like to hear us tackle American Beauty because we’ll be doing that in February, probably at the end of the month. Mulholland Drive would be such a rich movie to explore too. I always love those movies about movies! Maybe we’ll work that into our schedule later in the year.


  4. Hi Ryan and Bev, I just discovered your podcast and I want to thank you for inspiring me to revisit a bunch of great films as well as see some for the very first time. Your reviews helped pass the time on a recent road trip to Florida and every week at work. I also have a suggestion for how to continue the podcast: cover Rotten Tomatoes’ Top 100 Movies of All Time! You can skip any films that overlap with the AFI, and see the best-reviewed documentaries (like Man on Wire), foreign films (like Rashomon) and new classics (like Inside Out). Tackling another respected “top 100” fits the name and format of the podcast perfectly without the film choices being arbitrary. Thanks again for all your hard work and I hope you continue to enjoy producing the show. The Rotten Tomatoes top 100 is at https://www.rottentomatoes.com/top/bestofrt/

  5. Hey There…I wanted to leave a note and express how grateful I am that you do this podcast. I am going through the list on my own and always look forward to seeing where we agree and differ on each film.

  6. Hello! Discovered you guys from your episode on In Cold Blood and have been binge-listening to you guys while I set up my classroom for the upcoming semester! You have quickly become one of my favorite podcasts. The only issue is there’s a few episodes I can’t listen to because I haven’t seen the films…gotta fix that.

    Regarding the In Cold Blood podcast, I know that Bev asked about Smith’s injured legs and that small shot of the motorcycle accident despite Hickock telling the shop owner it was a war injury. If you have yet to read the book, it was indeed a motorcycle accident. Capote goes more in-depth on that in the book, and on many other things that weren’t dwelt upon as much in the film. I was assigned the book in high school and it’s become one of my all time favorites. I definitely recommend it.

    Anyway, I look forward to hearing more from you. Thanks for saving me from a long and boring prep week!

    P.S. I’m so happy to find someone else who CANNOT STAND Love Actually.

    1. Katie, we thank you so much for your comments! We’re so glad we’ve become binge-worthy. I (Ryan) have found various podcasts over the years that need to be binged and then, God, that’ll take up weeks at a time. I’ve shared your comments with Bev. When she reads what you said and has a thrilled response, Katie, it shall be shared with you. Movie it up! Oh, full disclosure: I’m watching Sunset Boulevard again right now as Bev snoozes with the dogs

  7. Dear Ryan & Bev,

    I’ve been listening to the show for about half a year now and felt compelled to drop you a line just to express how much I appreciate all your hard work.

    Hype and critical accolades generally steer me away from a movie, particularly classics, but your discussions have introduced me to some great titles and deepened the meaning of all of them – thank you!

    The episode trivia is always interesting and well researched, and each of your analyses is intelligent, thought-provoking, and tightly streamlined. The two of you have effortless chemistry (for obvious reasons, ha) and a professional type of charm; I can’t tell you how nice it is to hear cinephiles have such mature discussions about film and the film industry without stepping on each other’s toes. I especially appreciate Bev being so forthcoming in some of the past episodes in regards to her battle with depression and identifying as a feminist, as these are both things I relate to personally as well. I even use your podcast as a coping strategy.

    Basically, you have a wonderful show, I love it, and I thank you for all the time and effort you put into it. Also, the creativity that goes into incorporating the movie you’re reviewing into your Sparkplug ads does not go unnoticed, either, let me tell you.

    Thank you for everything, and I wish you luck with the show and all your endeavors beyond it.

    1. Thank you so much for this gorgeous message! You wrote a wonderful piece here and we appreciate it immensely. We’re very touched that our podcast is actually a kind of coping mechanism for you. It’s also great to hear we don’t step on each other’s toes because we wouldn’t argue if you said that we DO some stepping. Mister Interrupter can be particularly bad for that (in life, not just while recording a podcast). 😉 As for the creative ways we promote our sponsor, that’s one of the best compliments you could pay because most podcasts don’t do anything like that. They just dutifully plug the product and I’m hitting the 15-second skip button like I’m Jerry Lee Lewis playing the piano. Bev does a great job with those. If people skip them, then they’re missing out on some clever stuff. I’ve written a few over the years (including the Godfather “song”), but those are usually all her. You didn’t leave your name, but thanks again, Generous-With-Praise Listener!

  8. I love this podcast so much! Every time I watch a movie, I check to see if you two have covered it. I’d love to hear your thoughts on Edgar Wright’s Hot Fuzz (2007) on the Not 100 Project. Also, I just moved to Toronto from Ohio two months ago (not because of your podcast, but if you want me to say so for publicity’s sake, I’m down)– it’s the best city around!

    1. Marisa, thank you for your raves. We always like to be told we’re great. 😉 Hot Fuzz? Well, you might be hearing some Shaun Of The Dead next year, so perhaps we’ll squeeze some HF thoughts into that episode.

  9. Hi guys, lots of love all the way from Australia (the Canada of the South).

    Been listening for a couple years now and among the bajillion movie podcasts out there yours is one of my very favourites. What’s more, it gets better and better. Nowadays I’m twice as likely to watch a film if you two have covered it!

    If I may throw in a suggestion, I’ve been getting into Guy Maddin recently and I’d love to hear your thoughts on him as fellow Canadians and early cinema enthusiasts.

    Thankyou thankyou thankyou for hours of free entertainment and keep up the great work,

    1. Heya, Charlie. Thanks so much for your support and your love from the other side of the world. Resisting urge to make lame Aussie jokes. 🙂 We’re not likely to cover a Guy Maddin movie, partly because we just don’t know that much about him. Thanks for the suggestion though. We DO try to cover obscure artists, at least once in a while.

  10. Hello, I really enjoy downloading and listening to your podcast. What fascinates me most is the way you two dissect films and hypothesize about the aims of the films’ scripts, casts and crews–I appreciate all the effort you two give to entertain your listeners.

    I wanted to ask if there’s any book or text you can recommend on how I too can learn to “read” films like you do, if you know of any?

    I’ve left a good review on Itunes and I’ll continue to listen for as long as you guys keep going with this project. Thanks again for a great show!!!

    1. Hey there. Thanks so much for the kudos. We’re not going anywhere, so you should have a movie podcast every Monday to rely on for many years to come.

      As for books to read, I talked a lot about Peter Biskind’s gossipy but fascinating “Easy Riders, Raging Bulls” when we were covering ’70s films on the original Top 100. His even-more gossipy follow-up is “Down And Dirty Pictures”, which is about Redford’s creation of Sundance and Harvey Weinstein’s antics.

      Another good read is “Scorsese by Ebert” (two of my favourites in their field, as you probably know) and there’s always Sidney Lumet’s “Making Movies”. That’s a tremendous resource for anyone who wants to know what goes into making a flick.

      Btw, I was on iTunes a few minutes ago and didn’t see any reviews posted recently. Did you rate us or write an actual review?


      1. Thank you for your response and recommendations (I own the Lumet book-it’s a great read) and I apologize for not responding sooner. Yes I did write a review, but it wasn’t recent. I just checked my Itunes account and my five-star review for your podcast is dated September 4, 2017 under my handle “GQueue” (don’t know if you could still get a hold of it). I really enjoy the work and effort the two of you put into the show and the stark honesty of your opinions–with each download I learn to look at my favorite classic films from other perspectives thanks to you guys. I’ve heard most of your back catalog (some episodes even twice) and while I don’t always agree with your assessments (the “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” episode was equally soul-crushing [since it’s one of my faves] and extremely enlightening, especially with respect to James Stewart’s titular character) your shows never disappoint. I always download the episodes as soon as they’re released and hear them on my long drives here in southern California. Thanks again!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s