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AFI 100 Years... 100 Movies

The American Film Institute whittled down 400 nominations to a Top 100 of American movies. The aim was to compile a list of movies 'which set the standard and mark the excellence of the first century of American cinema'.

This was broadcast as a CBS TV special on 16th June, 1998, making this the most prominent Top 100 list out there, though not the first.

In 2007, for the tenth anniversary special, the AFI produced a revamped list, which kept Citizen Kane at the top but added in films like Titanic, The Sixth Sense and The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. I'm not sure if this was meant to be an improvement or not.

The main criticism of the original 100 Years... 100 Movies list and surely the revamped version was that it appeared to play it very safe indeed. Many people have offered criticism and a few have offered alternatives. I find Jonathan Rosenbaum's Alternate 100 a far more fascinating list to work through, even though my average ratings are currently still higher for this one.

Here's a link to the official AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies site page, which also links to the further AFI lists, compiled one per year.

The List

# Title Year Director IMDb
1 Citizen Kane 1941 Orson Welles IMDb
2 Casablanca 1942 Michael Curtiz IMDb
3 The Godfather 1972 Francis Ford Coppola IMDb
4 Gone with the Wind 1939 Victor Fleming IMDb
5 Lawrence of Arabia 1962 David Lean IMDb
6 The Wizard of Oz 1939 Victor Fleming IMDb
7 The Graduate 1967 Mike Nichols IMDb
8 On the Waterfront 1954 Elia Kazan IMDb
9 Schindler's List 1993 Steven Spielberg IMDb
10 Singin' in the Rain 1952 Gene Kelly & Stanley Donen IMDb
11 It's a Wonderful Life 1946 Frank Capra IMDb
12 Sunset Boulevard 1950 Billy Wilder IMDb
13 The Bridge on the River Kwai 1957 David Lean IMDb
14 Some Like It Hot 1959 Billy Wilder IMDb
15 Star Wars 1977 George Lucas IMDb
16 All About Eve 1950 Joseph L Mankiewicz IMDb
17 The African Queen 1951 John Huston IMDb
18 Psycho 1960 Alfred Hitchcock IMDb
19 Chinatown 1974 Roman Polanski IMDb
20 One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest 1975 Elia Kazan IMDb
21 The Grapes of Wrath 1940 John Ford IMDb
22 2001: A Space Odyssey 1968 Stanley Kubrick IMDb
23 The Maltese Falcon 1941 John Huston IMDb
24 Raging Bull 1980 Martin Scorsese IMDb
25 ET: The Extra-Terrestrial 1982 Steven Spielberg IMDb
26 Dr Strangelove 1964 Stanley Kubrick IMDb
27 Bonnie and Clyde 1967 Arthur Penn IMDb
28 Apocalypse Now 1979 Francis Ford Coppola IMDb
29 Mr Smith Goes to Washington 1939 Frank Capra IMDb
30 The Treasure of the Sierra Madre 1948 John Huston IMDb
31 Annie Hall 1977 Woody Allen IMDb
32 The Godfather Part II 1974 Francis Ford Coppola IMDb
33 High Noon 1952 Fred Zinnemann IMDb
34 To Kill a Mockingbird 1962 Robert Mulligan IMDb
35 It Happened One Night 1934 Frank Capra IMDb
36 Midnight Cowboy 1969 John Schlesinger IMDb
37 The Best Years of Our Lives 1946 William Wyler IMDb
38 Double Indemnity 1944 Billy Wilder IMDb
39 Doctor Zhivago 1965 David Lean IMDb
40 North By Northwest 1959 Alfred Hitchcock IMDb
41 West Side Story 1961 Robert Wise & Jerome Robbins IMDb
42 Rear Window 1954 Alfred Hitchcock IMDb
43 King Kong 1933 Merian C Cooper & Ernest B Schoedsack IMDb
44 The Birth of a Nation 1915 D W Griffith IMDb
45 A Streetcar Named Desire 1951 Elia Kazan IMDb
46 A Clockwork Orange 1971 Stanley Kubrick IMDb
47 Taxi Driver 1976 Martin Scorsese IMDb
48 Jaws 1975 Steven Spielberg IMDb
49 Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs 1937 David Hand et al IMDb
50 Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid 1969 George Roy Hill IMDb
51 The Philadelphia Story 1940 George Cukor IMDb
52 From Here to Eternity 1953 Fred Zinnemann IMDb
53 Amadeus 1984 Milos Forman IMDb
54 All Quiet on the Western Front 1930 Lewis Milestone IMDb
55 The Sound of Music 1965 Robert Wise IMDb
56 M*A*S*H 1970 Robert Altman IMDb
57 The Third Man 1949 Carol Reed IMDb
58 Fantasia 1940 Samuel Armstrong et al IMDb
59 Rebel Without a Cause 1955 Nicholas Ray IMDb
60 Raiders of the Lost Ark 1981 Steven Spielberg IMDb
61 Vertigo 1958 Alfred Hitchcock IMDb
62 Tootsie 1982 Sydney Pollack IMDb
63 Stagecoach 1939 John Ford IMDb
64 Close Encounters of the Third Kind 1977 Steven Spielberg IMDb
65 The Silence of the Lambs 1991 Jonathan Demme IMDb
66 Network 1976 Sidney Lumet IMDb
67 The Manchurian Candidate 1962 John Frankenheimer IMDb
68 An American in Paris 1951 Vincente Minnelli IMDb
69 Shane 1953 George Stevens IMDb
70 The French Connection 1971 William Friedkin IMDb
71 Forrest Gump 1994 Robert Zemeckis IMDb
72 Ben-Hur 1959 William Wyler IMDb
73 Wuthering Heights 1939 William Wyler IMDb
74 The Gold Rush 1925 Charles Chaplin IMDb
75 Dances with Wolves 1990 Kevin Costner IMDb
76 City Lights 1931 Charles Chaplin IMDb
77 American Graffiti 1973 George Lucas IMDb
78 Rocky 1976 John G Avildsen IMDb
79 The Deer Hunter 1978 Michael Cimino IMDb
80 The Wild Bunch 1969 Sam Peckinpah IMDb
81 Modern Times 1936 Charles Chaplin IMDb
82 Giant 1956 George Stevens IMDb
83 Platoon 1986 Oliver Stone IMDb
84 Fargo 1996 Joel Coen IMDb
85 Duck Soup 1933 Leo McCarey IMDb
86 Mutiny on the Bounty 1935 Frank Lloyd IMDb
87 Frankenstein 1931 James Whale IMDb
88 Easy Rider 1969 Dennis Hopper IMDb
89 Patton 1970 Franklin J Schaffner IMDb
90 The Jazz Singer 1927 Alan Crosland IMDb
91 My Fair Lady 1964 George Cukor IMDb
92 A Place in the Sun 1951 George Stevens IMDb
93 The Apartment 1960 Billy Wilder IMDb
94 Goodfellas 1990 Martin Scorsese IMDb
95 Pulp Fiction 1994 Quentin Tarantino IMDb
96 The Searchers 1956 John Ford IMDb
97 Bringing up Baby 1938 Howard Hawks IMDb
98 Unforgiven 1992 Clint Eastwood IMDb
99 Guess Who's Coming to Dinner 1967 Stanley Kramer IMDb
100 Yankee Doodle Dandy 1942 Michael Curtiz IMDb


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