Harman Patil (Editor)

AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies

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100 Movies

100 Laughs

100 Passions

100 Stars

100 Thrills

100 Heroes & Villains

The first of the AFI 100 Years... series of cinematic milestones, AFI's 100 Years…100 Movies is a list of the 100 best American movies, as determined by the American Film Institute from a poll of more than 1,500 artists and leaders in the film industry who chose from a list of 400 nominated movies. The 100-best list was unveiled in 1998.


Presentation broadcast

A 145-minute presentation of the 100 films aired on CBS. A 460-minute version aired as a 10-part series on TNT, hosted by Jodie Foster, Richard Gere, Sally Field and narrated by James Woods. An updated version of the list, billed as a 10th Anniversary edition, aired on CBS on June 20, 2007, and was hosted by Morgan Freeman. The AFI website notes that, "Due to licensing restrictions, the telecasts of the AFI 100 Years...100 Series are not available for distribution or purchase on DVD or VHS."


Films were judged according to the following criteria.

  1. Feature length: Narrative format, at least 40 minutes long.
  2. 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, A Clockwork Orange, Doctor Zhivago and Lawrence of Arabia, were British-made but funded and distributed by American studios. "The Lord of the Rings" was New Zealand-made with American funding)
  3. Critical recognition: Formal commendation in print.
  4. Major award winner: Recognition from competitive events including awards from organizations in the film community and major film festivals.
  5. Popularity over time: Including figures for box office adjusted for inflation, television broadcasts and syndication, and home video sales and rentals.
  6. Historical significance: A film's mark on the history of the moving image through technical innovation, visionary narrative devices or other groundbreaking achievements.
  7. Cultural impact: A film's mark on American society in matters of style and substance.

2007 update notes

Twenty-three films from the original top 100 films list were removed in 2007:

Four films released between 1996–2006 were added:

  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
  • Saving Private Ryan (1998)
  • Titanic (1997)
  • The Sixth Sense (1999)
  • Nineteen films made before 1996 were also added:


    As with awards, the list of those who vote and the final vote tally are not released to the public, nor the criteria for how the 400 nominated films have been selected.

    On June 26, 1998, the Chicago Reader published an article by film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum which offers a detailed response to the movies in the AFI list, as well as criticism of the AFI's appropriation of British films, such as Lawrence of Arabia and The Third Man. Rosenbaum also produced an alternative list of 100 American movies that he felt had been overlooked by the AFI. Rosenbaum chose to present this alternative list alphabetically since to rank them according to merit would be "tantamount to ranking oranges over apples or declaring cherries superior to grapes."

    The AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition) list includes five titles from Rosenbaum's list, and the accompanying promotional poster lists the titles in alphabetical order.


    AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies Wikipedia

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