AFI’s Top 10 of Ten

The American Film Institute’s newest installment of the best that film has to offer, is one right now. I thought I might blog their list and mine.

First: Top 10 Animated Movies

I started this list late so pardon me if I miss some of AFI’s list or get them out of order. Theirs culminates with “Snow White” and includes “Toy Story”, “Lion King”, “Beauty and the Beast”, “Nemo” and others. My top 3 would be:

3. Toy Story

2. The Lion King

1. Beauty and the Best

Their top 10 films in the Fantasy Genre are:

10. Big would be a lot higher on my list. Maybe a top 2 or 3 for me.

9. Thief of Baghdad haven’t seen it

8. Groundhog Day didn’t care for it all that much.

7. Harvey haven’t seen it but maybe once and maybe not all the way through then

6. Field of Dreams Would be #1 for me. Of course I’m a baseball nut who cries every time I see it. I have to watch this every March.

5. Miracle on 34th Street. The original which makes a regular appearance in our house every December.

4. King Kong. The original. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this but I know I totally didn’t like the remake from a few years ago.

3. It’s a Wonderful Life. Can’t believe this isn’t #1. What could it be???? I’d have this one #1 or 2. Who hasn’t been impacted by this film? The gold standard in the fantasy genre.

2. The Lord of the Rings. It’s me, I know, but this type of fantasy film or story doesn’t appeal to me.

1. Wizard of Oz. Of course. But I would put Wonderful Life ahead of this and probably Field of Dreams.

My top 5: Family Man, Serendipity, Oz, Field of Dreams, It’s a Wonderful Life. I like magic more than the fantasy.


10. Back to the Future Figured this might be higher on their list but there must be a ton to choose from. How many Star Wars installments make the list?

9. Invasion of the Body Snatchers. I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I’ve never seen the original all the way through.

8. Terminator 2 Judgement Day The first time a sequel has made the list. My wife likes these films more than I do.

7. Alien. I remember seeing this in the theatre. But the sequel was scarier to me.

6. Blade Runner. I went to see this at the drive-in when I was in high school. I don’t remember any of it.

5. The Day the Earth Stood Still. Would love to see this one.

4. A Clockwork Orange. I tried to watch this several times. The weirdest piece of film I’ve ever seen. I know the critics praise it for being different, but I hated it.

3. E.T. One of the only films I’ve seen more than once in the theater. Fantastic and unless Close Encounters and Star Wars are above it, should have been higher.

2. Star Wars IV. That’s the first one. We sometimes forget about what a great story this was. Fantastic and makes me want to watch them all again.

1. Got to be: Close Encounters!…. No? 2001 a Space Odyssey Maybe but I’d put Close Encounters here or at least somewhere on the list. AFI really digs Kubrick.

My top 4: Aliens, ET, Star Wars, Close Encounters

Sports Pictures. I immediately think of Hoosiers

10. Jerry Maguire Just okay for me. I think because I kept hearing how good it was before I ever saw it. Never lived up to the hype

9. National Velvet. Probably saw it as a kid. Don’t remember it.

8. Breaking Away. Awesome movie. Wouldn’t have been on my list only because I’d have not remembered it as a “Sports film”. As it is, in my top 5

7. Caddyshack. Thank you AFI for having a sense of humor. How many lines from this movie do we hear repeated at work today?

6. The Hustler. I loved this one too. And the follow up The Color of Money many years later was good too. Jackie Gleason was fantastic

5. Bull Durham. My second favorite baseball movie behind Field of Dreams. I don’t think that’ll make two lists. Does any actor play baseball players better than Costner?

4. Hoosiers. I remember having to talk my girlfriend into seeing this movie on Spring Break. She ended up loving it as much as I did. how many coaches have used something from Hoosiers to motivate their team?

3. Pride of the Yankees. A bit of a surprise only because there’ve been so many other huge sports movies.

2. Rocky. Figured this one would be 1 or 2. Sly Stallone wrote the screenplay, not many people know that. I loved 2 and 3 too. My buddy Buck and I stood and cheered watching this in the theater.

1. Raging Bull. No arguments here. Though there are many others that could have made the list somewhere. I loved Tin Cup, and Cinderella Man would be in my top 3.


10. Cat Ballou. Bet most of you haven’t seen this one. Funny stuff though I might would have put Shakiest Gun in the West above it. Maybe.

9. Stagecoach. I’ve seen this one. The Duke. Wasn’t this the first full-length motion picture?

8. McCabe and Mrs. Miller. Saw this in college but don’t remember anything about it.

7. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. One of the most entertaining movies I’ve ever seen. Wouldn’t mind watching this again soon.

6. The Wild Bunch. I liked The Magnificent Seven better than this one. Wonder if it’ll make the list? Surely. One of the more realistic Westerns (violent) that I’ve seen.

5. Red River. Too many John Wayne movies to consider and only the second one mentioned so far. I’d put “The Cowboys” in this space. We’ve still got to get True Grit, and The Searchers. don’t we?

4. Unforgiven. Who was going to be the good guy in this movie? No arguments, maybe the most recent Western on the list?

3. Shane. I almost forgot. 55 year old movie and I can so picture the last scene. Alan Ladd. there was a cowboy.

2. High Noon. I loved this movie and the music…wow. I watched this in a college film class but need to see it again. So what’s #1? True Grit or The Searchers?

1. The Searchers. My favorite western and one of my top 10 favorites. James Woods said tonight “The real search is for John Wayne’s soul”. I hadn’t thought of that and need to watch this again. I’ve got it on DVD so it’ll be soon.

I’d add The Cowboys and Blazing Saddles and maybe The Shootist, Wayne’s last film.

a commercial break so I’ll update below the line

Gangster Movies

10.  Scarface.  This is going to be a tough list. Lots to choose from and Scarface is one of the greatest.

9.  Little Caesar.  Edward G Robinson. Haven’t seen it

8. The Public Enemy.  These old ones wouldn’t make my list. Just because there are too many more recent really good gangster films. How many Godfather films will make the list?

7. Pulp Fiction.  What a story. I’d put it higher on my list. Can you believe it’s 14 years old? I’d put Jackie Brown on my list too

6. Scarface the Shame of a Nation.  I honestly haven’t heard of this one. Produced by Howard Hughes. Hmmmm interesting selection from the AFI folks.

5. Bonnie and Clyde. The first gangster movie I’d ever seen. How many Gene Hackman appearances on this list? Four so far?

4.  White Heat. I’ve only heard of this one. Another b/w.  You’d think the best gangster films would be more recent films. But only Pulp fiction is really a modern day film and gangster story.

3.  The Godfather II.  I want to take a rainy weekend and watch I, II and III all at once.

2.  Goodfellas.  No arguments here, unless something other than The Godfather sits at #1.  Even this more recent (1990) production is about a 40s or 50s era gangster. We’ve got gangs now. Do they not make good stories? One of the most violent gangster movies. Real.

1.  The Godfather. Nothing better than this one. “No one messes with the family”.

I’d have “Things to Do In Denver When You’re Dead” and “Jackie Brown” on my list. Or was JB not really a gangster pic? I also like Miller’s Crossing from the Cohen brothers.

Mystery Genre.

Not my favorite genre of films but I do like excellent mysteries.

10.  The Usual Suspects.  Didn’t care for it.

9. Dial. M for Murder   this was suspense more than mystery. Grace Kelly. Hitchcock. ‘Nuff said.

8.  Blue Velvet. One of the more disturbing movies I’ve ever seen. Dennis Hopper played one of the creepiest characters in movie history.

7. North by Northwest.  This always makes the lists.  I’ve even seen it at #1. I’d put it a bit lower. There are better Hitchcock mysteries.

6. The Maltese Falcon.  really liked this one. Bogie. but I don’t remember what “maltese” is.

5. The Third Man.  Don’t believe I’ve ever seen it. Don’t know that I’ve seen more than a few clips of it.

4. Laura. tried watching it once but didn’t get through it for some reason.

3. Rear Window.  Grace Kelly again. Loved this picture. Raymond Burr is the creepy neighbor. More suspenseful than any film I can think of.

2. Chinatown.  I liked this one.

1. Vertigo. I think it’s the best of Hitchcock’s mysteries. Jimmy Stewart is on this particular list 4 times and made it for Harvey and will make it a few other times too.

Romantic Comedy.  My favorite genre. Though my tastes won’t coincide with the AFI folks.

10.  Sleepless in Seattle.   A chick flick. But this makes my list too.  Back when Meg Ryan played the perfect girl next door. What woman doesn’t cry at the ending at the top of the Empire State Building?

9.  Harold and Maude. I never got all the way through this one for some reason.

8. Moonstruck. i liked it. Didn’t love it. But a great romantic comedy. “Snap Out of it.” It’s good but I’d put Sleepless in Seattle ahead of it.

7.  Adams Rib. Very very funny movie.

6. When Harry Met Sally. My #1 all time favorite film. How does this fall so low on the AFI list? The gold standard of romantic comedies. A perfect film. What could be the top 5?

5. The Philadelphia Story.  Funny. maybe on my list, but not this high. Jimmy Stewart again.

4. Roman Holiday. Audrey Hepburn. A princess but is this really one of the top ten romantic comedies ever?

3. It Happened One Night. One of the funniest films I’ve ever seen. I wish my wife and kids would give black and white films a chance. This would be one of the first we’d watch.

2.  Annie Hall.  Watched this one  last month when I was sick. A genius of a picture. Would maybe be my #2. i love Manhattan and Hannah and Her Sisters too.

1. City Lights.  I see this on AFI’s list every year. Charlie Chaplin. Must be good but can’t be #1.  I figured they would have had Pretty Woman on this list. I’d have added Say Anything and Fever Pitch (baseball nut remember) and Serendipity and Some Like it Hot

Courtroom Drama   I know what I’d have number one. But I can’t guess AFI’s list anymore.

10. Judgement at Nuremberg    Can’t speak for it at all.

9.   A Cry in the Dark.  Love Meryl Streep but haven’t seen it.   After seeing and hearing thoughts about it, I want to see it soon.

8. In Cold Blood.  Fantastic movie, even better book.  I just bought Capote which is based on Truman’s time on this book but haven’t seen it yet. Both the book and movie gave me nightmares.

7.  anatomy of a Murder.  Jimmy Stewart again. “Best courtroom drama ever made”? Looks like it belongs on this list.

6.  Witness for the Prosecution.  Looks like a good story. powdered wigs might dissuade some from seeing it.

5.  A Few Good Men. One of the best recent courtroom dramas. Is anyone making courtroom dramas other than television producers?

4.  The Verdict. I had forgotten about this one. Saw it in the 80s but remember practically nothing about it. Paul Newman before his salad dressing days.

3.  Kramer VS Kramer.  I remember the buzz about this movie. A divorce courtroom drama when divorce wasn’t as common as it is today. Streep and Hoffman were terrific but this movie was too heart wrenching for me to watch more than once.

2.  Twelve Angry Men.  Henry Fonda.  The most suspenseful courtroom drama. Great character study and a great script. Loved it.  this leaves only one other movie that could be #1.

1. To Kill a Mockingbird.    My all-time-desert-island-last-request-before-I-die movie.  “Miss Jeane-Louise, stand up. Your father’s passing”. Gets me every time. I’m all teared up now just from that  clip. I asked for this DVD for Fathers Day.

Oh my goodness, Kirk Douglas looks and sounds awful.

Epic movies not my favorite genre. i prefer simple, even independent movies to the grand scale epics.

10. the Ten Commandments.

9. Reds.  Fell asleep in the theater during this one. Might need to give it another chance.

8. Saving Private Ryan.  If this fits the epic category it would be in my top 2 or 3. I’d have to put “The Longest Day” on it too.

7.  All Quiet on the Western Front. I watched this a few years ago when I was researching for a documentary on The Battle of the Bulge. An anti-war picture. Effective.

6. Titanic.  My daughter loved this movie. I saw it once. Wish I had seen it in the theater instead of on DVD. Must have been something on a big screen. Hated the title song though.

5.  Spartacus.  “Hey…you like Gladiator movies?”  Great scene…. “I am Spartacus”.

4.  Gone With The Wind.  Surprised. #4?  Slam dunk #1 Epic movie.  I’ve seen this one “The Alabama Theater” and “The Tennessee Theater”. Awesome on a big screen.

3. Schindler’s List. The most expensive black and white film of all time. Very powerful movie and I think it helped shape our attitudes man’s inhumanity to man.

2.  Ben-Hur. I never got into these movies. I’ve seen it and can’t argue against it being one of the all time great films. Just not my cup of tea.

1. Lawrence of Arabia. Same here.

There were some notable absences on these lists. “The Apartment”, “Citizen Kane”. And no category for comedy either. I doubt anyone cares what I think but maybe you can get the entire AFI list from here. We’ve made a list ourselves of movies we need to see.


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