PSYCHO TOPS AFI'S LIST OF THE 100 MOST THRILLING AMERICAN FILMS
JAWS, THE EXORCIST, NORTH BY NORTHWEST and THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS Make the Top
Cut On AFI'S 100 YEARS
LOS ANGELES, June 13, 2001 — The American Film Institute (AFI) revealed the
100 most thrilling American films yesterday evening during AFI's 100
Years...100 Thrills, a three-hour special television event. PSYCHO, the 1960
Alfred Hitchcock classic starring Janet Leigh and Anthony Perkins, ranked #1.
Following PSYCHO in the top 10, in order, were JAWS (#2), THE EXORCIST (#3),
NORTH BY NORTHWEST (#4), THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (#5), ALIEN (#6), THE BIRDS
(#7), THE FRENCH CONNECTION (#8), ROSEMARY'S BABY (#9) and RAIDERS OF THE
LOST ARK (#10).
"Creating a movie is the ultimate collaborative effort," stated Jean Picker
Firstenberg, AFI's President Emerita. "When it all comes together it is, in
a word, thrilling. AFI hopes this new list will spark another national dialogue
and send a new generation of movie goers to see these heart-pounding movies."
The 100 most thrilling films were selected by a blue-ribbon panel of leaders
from the film community, including film artists (directors, screenwriters,
actors, editors, cinematographers, visual effects artists, stunt men and women
and make-up artists), critics and historians. The nominated films crossed many
genres, including Action-Adventure, Silent, Film Noir, Horror, Science Fiction, Suspense, War,
Interesting facts about AFI's 100 Years...100 Thrills include:
The 100 films span from Harold Lloyd's SAFETY LAST, released in 1923, to 1999's
THE MATRIX and THE SIXTH SENSE.
Harrison Ford and Claude Rains are the most celebrated actors, each starring in
4 films in the top 100. Ford's films are BLADE RUNNER, THE FUGITIVE, RAIDERS OF
THE LOST ARK and STAR WARS. Rains stars in THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD,
LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, NOTORIOUS and CASABLANCA
Nine Alfred Hitchcock films made the list, including the film ranked #1,
PSYCHO, making him the most represented director. Hitchcock's frequent
cameos technically make him the most represented actor on the list with eight
appearances, including every film except DIAL M FOR MURDER, in which he appears
in a photograph on the wall.
Steven Spielberg directed 6 films on the list, 2 of which placed in the top 10,
and he wrote and produced POLTERGEIST. Stanley Kubrick directed 5 of America's
most heart-pounding movies.
With 22 films, the 1970s claim the most heart-pounding movies in the AFI
countdown. The 1960s boast 21 movies on the list, while the 1980s and 1940s
each have 14.
Jim Cameron's TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY is the only movie sequel on the AFI
Thrills that cross generations include John Huston and his father, actor Walter
Huston, appear together in THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE. Director Alfred
Hitchcock and his daughter, actress Pat Hitchcock worked together in STRANGERS
ON A TRAIN and PSYCHO. Actresses Janet Leigh (PSYCHO, TOUCH OF EVIL, THE
MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE) and her daughter, Jamie Lee Curtis (HALLOWEEN), appear in
separate films on the AFI list.
Thrills encompass many genres, including courtroom dramas (12 ANGRY MEN),
disasters (TITANIC), epics (LAWRENCE OF ARABIA), horror (PSYCHO), musicals (THE
WIZARD OF OZ), noir (DOUBLE INDEMNITY), sci-fi (ALIEN), sports (ROCKY),
suspense (NORTH BY NORTHWEST), war (SAVING PRIVATE RYAN) and westerns (HIGH
The special is the fourth installment of AFI's centennial celebration of
American film, following the three critically acclaimed Network specials
AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies, AFI's 100 Years...100 Stars and
AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs, which sparked discussions of
America's film history among millions across the nation. In late 2000, AFI
distributed a ballot with 400 nominated films to a jury of 1,800 leaders of the
film community. The jurors were asked to consider the following criteria while
making their selections:
Feature-Length Fiction Film: The film must be in narrative format,
typically more than 60 minutes in length.
American Film: The film must be in the English language with significant
creative and/or financial production elements from the United States.
Thrills: Regardless of genre, the total adrenaline-inducing impact
of a film's artistry and craft must create an experience that engages our
bodies as well as our minds.
Legacy: Films whose "thrills" have enlivened and enriched
America's film heritage while continuing to inspire contemporary artists
AFI's 100 Years...100 Thrills is being supported by
returning sponsors General Motors, Blockbuster, United States Postal Service,
PepsiCo, Anheuser-Busch, Merck, Johnson & Johnson, Warner Home Video,
Warner Bros. Pictures, Walt Disney, Universal, Dreamworks, Paramount and
Miramax. Colgate-Palmolive, Combe Chemical, Canandaigua Wines, Gillette, AOL,
Sony Electronics, Sony Pictures and 20th
Century Fox Home Video are new sponsors of the program. AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies (1998), AFI's 100 Years...100 Stars (1999) and
AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs (2000) were each watched by more than 11 million people and won their respective time periods. Multi-Emmy Award winner
Gary Smith ("The Tony Awards") is the executive producer and director of AFI's 100 Years...100 Thrills for Smith-Hemion Productions. Former AFI
Board Chairman Frederick S. Pierce is the executive producer for AFI. Dann
Netter ("50 Years of Television"), Fred A. Rappoport ("The Kennedy
Center's 25th Anniversary Celebration," "The Country Music Hall of Fame
25th Anniversary") and Bob Gazzale, AFI President & CEO ("AFI Life Achievement Award," "A Tribute to
Barbra Streisand"), are the producers, with Gazzale also serving as writer.
AFI's 100 YEARS...100 THRILLS (2001)
List of the 400 nominated movies PDF (64k)
List of the 100 winning movies
Click here to go to the list downloads page