AFI's 100 YEARS...100 CHEERS

AFI's 100 MOST INSPIRING FILMS
OF ALL TIME


AFI's 100 Years...100 Cheers is a list of the 100 most inspiring films of all time.

These 100 movies inspire us, encourage us to make a difference and send us from the theatre with a greater sense of possibility and hope for the future. A jury of 1,500 film artists, critics and historians selected the classic IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, starring James Stewart, as the most inspiring movie of all time.

The films that make up AFI's 100 Years...100 Cheers were originally announced in a three-hour special television event which aired on CBS on June 14, 2006 with commentary from many of Hollywood's most celebrated actors and filmmakers, including Jessica Alba, Don Cheadle, Sally Field, Jane Fonda, Whoopi Goldberg, Ben Kingsley, Sidney Poitier, Mickey Rooney and Steven Spielberg.

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MOVIE

YEAR

1

IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE

1946

2

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

1962

3

SCHINDLER'S LIST

1993

4

ROCKY

1976

5

MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON

1939

6

E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL

1982

7

THE GRAPES OF WRATH

1940

8

BREAKING AWAY

1979

9

MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET

1947

10

SAVING PRIVATE RYAN

1998

11

THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES

1946

12

APOLLO 13

1995

13

HOOSIERS

1986

14

THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI

1957

15

THE MIRACLE WORKER

1962

16

NORMA RAE

1979

17

ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST

1975

18

THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK

1959

19

THE RIGHT STUFF

1983

20

PHILADELPHIA

1993

21

IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT

1967

22

THE PRIDE OF THE YANKEES

1942

23

THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION

1994

24

NATIONAL VELVET

1944

25

SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS

1941

26

THE WIZARD OF OZ

1939

27

HIGH NOON

1952

28

FIELD OF DREAMS

1989

29

GANDHI

1982

30

LAWRENCE OF ARABIA

1962

31

GLORY

1989

32

CASABLANCA

1942

33

CITY LIGHTS

1931

34

ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN

1976

35

GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER

1967

36

ON THE WATERFRONT

1954

37

FORREST GUMP

1994

38

PINOCCHIO

1940

39

STAR WARS

1977

40

MRS. MINIVER

1942

41

THE SOUND OF MUSIC

1965

42

12 ANGRY MEN

1957

43

GONE WITH THE WIND

1939

44

SPARTACUS

1960

45

ON GOLDEN POND

1981

46

LILIES OF THE FIELD

1963

47

2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY

1968

48

THE AFRICAN QUEEN

1951

49

MEET JOHN DOE

1941

50

SEABISCUIT

2003

51

THE COLOR PURPLE

1985

52

DEAD POET'S SOCIETY

1989

53

SHANE

1953

54

RUDY

1993

55

THE DEFIANT ONES

1958

56

BEN-HUR

1959

57

SERGEANT YORK

1941

58

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND

1977

59

DANCES WITH WOLVES

1990

60

THE KILLING FIELDS

1984

61

SOUNDER

1972

62

BRAVEHEART

1995

63

RAIN MAN

1988

64

THE BLACK STALLION

1979

65

A RAISIN IN THE SUN

1961

66

SILKWOOD

1983

67

THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL

1951

68

AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN

1982

69

THE SPIRIT OF ST. LOUIS

1957

70

COAL MINER'S DAUGHTER

1980

71

COOL HAND LUKE

1967

72

DARK VICTORY

1939

73

ERIN BROCKOVICH

2000

74

GUNGA DIN

1939

75

THE VERDICT

1982

76

BIRDMAN OF ALCATRAZ

1962

77

DRIVING MISS DAISY

1989

78

THELMA & LOUISE

1991

79

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

1956

80

BABE

1995

81

BOYS TOWN

1938

82

FIDDLER ON THE ROOF

1971

83

MR. DEEDS GOES TO TOWN

1936

84

SERPICO

1973

85

WHAT'S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT

1993

86

STAND AND DELIVER

1988

87

WORKING GIRL

1988

88

YANKEE DOODLE DANDY

1942

89

HAROLD AND MAUDE

1972

90

HOTEL RWANDA

2004

91

THE PAPER CHASE

1973

92

FAME

1980

93

A BEAUTIFUL MIND

2001

94

CAPTAINS COURAGEOUS

1937

95

PLACES IN THE HEART

1984

96

SEARCHING FOR BOBBY FISCHER

1993

97

MADAME CURIE

1943

98

THE KARATE KID

1984

99

RAY

2004

100

CHARIOTS OF FIRE

1981

SELECTION CRITERIA

AFI distributed a ballot in November 2005 with 300 nominated inspiring movies to a jury of over 1,500 leaders from the creative community, including film artists (directors, screenwriters, actors, editors, cinematographers), critics and historians.

The jury have been asked to choose up to 100 inspirational films from a comprehensive list, including entries such as APOLLO 13, BREAKING AWAY, CHARIOTS OF FIRE, THE COLOR PURPLE, DEAD MAN WALKING, DEAD POET'S SOCIETY, 8 MILE, ERIN BROCKOVICH, FIELD OF DREAMS, GANDHI, GOOD WILL HUNTING, GOODBYE MR. CHIPS, HOOSIERS, IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, THE KARATE KID, NATIONAL VELVET, NORMA RAE, THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST, RAIN MAN, ROCKY, SCHINDLER'S LIST, SEABISCUIT, THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION and THE SOUND OF MUSIC.

Due to the extensive number of movies that inspire in American film, jurors may also write in votes for up to five films that may not already appear on the ballot.

The jurors have been asked to consider the following criteria in making their selections:

  • FEATURE-LENGTH FICTION FILM
    Narrative format, typically over 60 minutes in length.

  • AMERICAN FILM
    English language film with significant creative and/or production elements from the United States.

  • CHEERS
    Movies that inspire with characters of vision and conviction who face adversity and often make a personal sacrifice for the greater good. Whether these movies end happily or not, they are ultimately triumphant — both filling audiences with hope and empowering them with the spirit of human potential.

  • LEGACY
    Films whose "cheers" continue to echo across a century of American cinema.

*AFI defines an American film as an English language motion picture with significant creative and/or financial production elements from the United States. AFI defines a feature-length film as a motion picture of narrative format that is typically over 60 minutes in length. Only feature-length American films released before January 1, 2005, will be considered.


INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT THE BALLOT

Tom Hanks and Henry Fonda are the most represented male actors on the ballot with eight inspiring movies each. Sidney Poitier, Gary Cooper and Denzel Washington each have seven movies on the ballot.

Jean Arthur is the most represented female actor on the ballot with four movies.

Frank Capra and Steven Spielberg each have six inspiring movies on the ballot, leading all directors. Capra's films are MR. DEEDS GOES TO TOWN ('36), YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU ('38), MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON ('39), MEET JOHN DOE ('41) IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ('46) and POCKETFUL OF MIRACLES ('61); while Spielberg directed CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND ('77), E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL ('82), THE COLOR PURPLE ('85), SCHINDLER'S LIST ('93), AMISTAD ('97) and SAVING PRIVATE RYAN ('98).

Over one third of the movies on the ballot are movies inspired by real life people and events.

1939 is the most represented year on the ballot, with 12 inspiring movies.


AFI's 100 Years...100 Cheers is the ninth installment in AFI's centennial celebration of American cinema, meant to spark a national discussion of America's film history among movie lovers across the nation.


AFI's 100 YEARS...100 MOVIE CHEERS (2006)
List of the 300 nominated films
List of the 100 winning cheers films
Click here to go to the list downloads page

AFI Membership
AFI honoring the year best in television and film