In 1998, the American Film Institute unveiled its list of the 100 greatest movies of the previous 100 years. Their list began with 400 movies which were nominated. From there, 1,500 leaders in the film industry were polled, whittling the list down to the 100 that were presented on a television special. In 2007, the list was updated in time for the 10th anniversary of the list. According to Wikipedia, the films were judged on the following criteria:
- 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.
- 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.
I’ve looked over the list. I can’t say I agree with all of the choices. I mean, number one is Citizen Kane. Have you ever tried to sit through that movie? I have. I didn’t make it. Once I get to the top of the list, I guess I’ll have to try again. But, even though I don’t agree with every movie in the AFI Top 100, I like to think of myself as a movie lover. So I should probably give these critically acclaimed movies a shot. Some I’ve already seen and loved. Some I’ve seen and really didn’t care for. A lot I’ve never seen and probably haven’t even given a second thought to. But I’m gonna start with the bottom of the list and work my way up. Thanks to Netflix, I’ll have access to all 100 of the films. But with scheduling being the way it is, it may take a while to get them all watched. If anyone’s interested in playing along, I’m following the 10th anniversary version of the list, which will start with Ben-Hur at number 100.