Thursday, June 1, 2023

AFI 100 Years: 100 movies

As of a week ago, I have watched every movie on the American Film Institute's "100 years: 100 movies" list.  

There are a lot of great movies on that list. Some I love and have seen multiple times (e.g.: Star Wars, Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Blade Runner).

Some I know I've seen but I barely remember them (e.g.: Taxi Driver, Easy Rider, A Clockwork Orange).

 Some I didn't like much at all (e.g.: Nashville, Do the Right Thing, Sophie's Choice). 

Probably the best movies on the list are the two Godfather movies (and the only sequel listed).

The oldest movie on the list is Intolerance directed by D. W. Griffith. It was made in 1916. It was silent and two hours long. And some of the title cards were impossible to read. I didn't hate it but I didn't enjoy it, either. (You might recognize D. W. Griffith as the director of Birth of a Nation which, as I understand it, glorified the Ku Klux Klan and racism.)

Speaking of racism, I was shocked that two of the movies on the list, Yankee Doodle Dandy and Swing Time, had blackface performances in them. In Yankee Doodle Dandy, it was in historical context in a flashback to the late 1800s. But in Swing Time, Fred Astaire puts it on and performs in blackface. And that movie was made in 1936.

The most recent movie on the list is Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (2001). Which I love and have seen multiple times, mostly in the expanded edition.

I'm glad I did this. I saw a lot of interesting old movies (and some movies I really didn't want to see). But it was an education. When I started this journey, I'd seen all but 14 of the movies. Most were available on, but one (Yankee Doodle Dandy) I watched on Amazon Prime.

Have you seen all or most of these movies? What do you think of the list? Are there movies missing or shouldn't be on there? Let me know in the comments below.

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