Conquering AFI’s Top 100 Movies List
One of my goals this summer was to finish watching all of AFI’s Top 100 movies (the 10th Anniversary edition, not the original list). As a film major, and one who naturally gravitates more toward foreign and independent film rather than classic Hollywood cinema, I felt it was my responsibility to finally catch up on a large part of American cinematic culture that I’ve been missing.
Additionally, I’m a firm believer in allocating my downtime wisely. I love to have book lists and movie lists to work through at all times so that there is some kind of purpose and direction given to my entertainment consumption.
The AFI list was selected from a list of 400 nominated films by 1,500 artists and leaders in the film industry. The criteria for the selections were:
- Feature-length: Narrative format, at least 40 minutes long.
- American film: English language, with significant creative and/or financial production elements from the United States. (Certain films, notably The Bridge on the River Kwai and Lawrence of Arabia, were British-made but funded and distributed by American studios.)
- Critical Recognition: Formal commendation in print.
- Major Award Winner: Recognition from competitive events including awards from organizations in the film community and major film festivals.
- Popularity Over Time: Including figures for box office adjusted for inflation, television broadcasts and syndication, and home video sales and rentals.
- Historical Significance: A film’s mark on the history of the moving image through technical innovation, visionary narrative devices or other groundbreaking achievements.
- Cultural Impact: A film’s mark on American society in matters of style and substance.
Some of the films I saw when I was younger, but I’m not letting myself cross them off unless I can recall the plot, characters, themes, etc. clearly enough to describe the film well to someone else. Here’s the complete list of the films, annotated with my viewing history:
What’s next up on my Netflix queue?
43. Midnight Cowboy
6. Gone with the Wind
84. Easy Rider
75. In the Heat of the Night
38. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
Which films do you think should have made the list? Which films do you think shouldn’t have? Write your thoughts in the comments below.