An AFI Draft

I’ve still got that upcoming (June 20th) AFI “New Top 100” unveiling on my mind. I like the idea more than I did when I first heard it. They plan on doing this once every ten years throughout this century, not only to give the latest films a chance to be counted among the greatest ever, but measure changing cultural standards of movie quality. That’s pretty cool.

So, in honor of the effort and because I’m such a big fan of lists, I downloaded their selection of 400 nominees to see if I could come up with my own top 100 choices. Well . . . 100 movies isn’t enough, and everybody who loves the movies knows that. How can you measure which 100 American movies are the greatest? You can’t. But it’s fun to try, and that’s really all I’ve done. This is a draft, more than anything else. That’s part of what I like about this “once every 10 years” business . . . it acknowledges that there is not, nor can there be, a definitive list.

Just so you have something to keep in mind, here are the criteria for a top 100 movie. It must be a “FEATURE-LENGTH, AMERICAN FICTION FILM” that has achieved “CRITICAL RECOGNITION,” won “MAJOR AWARDS,” and demonstrates “POPULARITY OVER TIME,” “HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE” and

The official ballot requests that you select up to 100 movies from its list of nominees, but allows for up to five write-in votes for anything they may not have included. It also asks that you rank your top 5 movie picks “for tie-breaking purposes only.” So, below, I have my top 5 followed by my write-in votes and then my remaining selections. Keep in mind that everything below the write-in section is taken from the nominee list provided by the AFI.

One further note: I have six write-ins. I just couldn’t whittle it down below that. I consider it justified because the new nominee list includes selections like Austin Powers, Shrek and Harry Potter 3 in lieu of worthier choices. Furthermore, the three starred write-ins appeared on the 1997 nominee list but were bumped from the new one.

As always, comments and suggestions are welcome, even solicited. What shouldn’t be her? What ought to replace it? Why? What does your top five look like, and what else ought to be written-in?

Top 5

1. The Godfather
2. Citizen Kane
3. Casablanca
4. Schindler’s List
5. To Kill a Mockingbird


Anatomy of a Murder*
Fiddler on the Roof*
Judgment at Nuremberg*
Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?
The Princess Bride
Road to Perdition

Remaining List (alphabetical order)

All Quiet on the Western Front
All the President’s Men
American Beauty
American Graffiti
Apocalypse Now
Back to the Future
The Best Years of Our Lives
The Big Sleep
The Birth of a Nation
The Bridge on the River Kwai
Bringing Up Baby
Brokeback Mountain
Chariots of Fire
Coolhand Luke
Dog Day Afternoon
Double Indemnity
Dr. Strangelove
Driving Miss Daisy
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
A Face in the Crowd
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Forrest Gump
From Here to Eternity
The General
The Godfather Part II
Gone with the Wind
The Graduate
The Grapes of Wrath
The Great Escape
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner
High Noon
His Girl Friday
Hotel Rwanda
In the Heat of the Night
It Happened One Night
It’s a Wonderful Life
The Jazz Singer
The Last Emperor
The Last Picture Show
Little Caesar
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
The Maltese Falcon
The Manchurian Candidate
Mary Poppins
Midnight Cowboy
Moulin Rouge!
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
My Fair Lady
North by Northwest
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Ordinary People
Planet of the Apes
Pulp Fiction
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Rear Window
Rebel Without a Cause
Saving Private Ryan
The Searchers
The Shawshank Redemption
The Silence of the Lambs
Singin’ in the Rain
Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
Some Like it Hot
The Sound of Music
Star Wars
The Sting
A Streetcar Named Desire
Taxi Driver
Toy Story
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
12 Angry Men
The Wizard of OZ

~ by Jared on June 1, 2007.

3 Responses to “An AFI Draft”

  1. I would have added The Pianist (even if it is during the same period as Schindlers List), among others…


  2. I agree,The Pianist should have been added also.


  3. I’ll agree that <em>The Pianist</em> is an excellent movie that deserves recognition, however it wasn’t even on the list of 400 nominees. Why not? I had an idea, so I checked . . . It’s because it doesn’t qualify as an American film. Produced entirely on foreign soil by a foreign director and based on material by a non-American, it couldn’t be considered for a spot as one of the Greatest American Films of All Time.


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