AFI’s Top 10

Earlier this month the American Film Institute released their top 10 films in 10 “classic” genres, and though it completely contradicts their past lists, I am in agreement more often than not. Before you start screaming about their “Western” list, keep in mind that only American made films are eligible.

Being a Kubrick fanboy, I’m VERY happy to see 2001: A Space Odyssey at #1 in the Science Fiction category, beating out Star Wars. BUT, it’s strange to see the inclusion of A New Hope at #2 while The Empire Strikes Back is completely absent from the list. Other disappointments are the lack of a horror genre list, Titanic just being listed, and having the top 10 romantic comedies as opposed to just the top 10 comedies (which excluded Some LIke it Hot, Dr. Strangelove, and Blazing Saddles, among others).

I’ve posted a couple of the lists below, but for the full set, click here.


1. “Lawrence of Arabia,” 1962.

2. “Ben-Hur,” 1959.

3. “Schindler’s List,” 1993.

4. “Gone With the Wind,” 1939.

5. “Spartacus,” 1960.

6. “Titanic,” 1997.

7. “All Quiet on the Western Front,” 1930.

8. “Saving Private Ryan,” 1998.

9. “Reds,” 1981.

10. “The Ten Commandments,” 1956.


1. “2001: A Space Odyssey,” 1968.

2. “Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope,” 1977.

3. “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” 1982.

4. “A Clockwork Orange,” 1971.

5. “The Day The Earth Stood Still,” 1951.

6. “Blade Runner,” 1982.

7. “Alien,” 1979.

8. “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” 1991.

9. “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” 1956.

10. “Back to the Future,” 1985.


1. “Vertigo,” 1958.

2. “Chinatown,” 1974.

3. “Rear Window,” 1954.

4. “Laura,” 1944.

5. “The Third Man,” 1949.

6. “The Maltese Falcon,” 1941.

7. “North By Northwest,” 1959.

8. “Blue Velvet,” 1986.

9. “Dial M for Murder,” 1954.

10. “The Usual Suspects,” 1995.


6 responses to “AFI’s Top 10

  • mangold

    worth noting that hitchcock’s got 4 listed in the top 10 mysterys…

  • bfnk

    … emphasis on the “cock”… but seriously, there’s not too much to complain about with this list. I’m very happy with LOA (Lawrence of Arabia, n00b) getting the top spot for epic – very agreeable, indeed.
    I bet they gave a New Hope the spot simply to represent the trilogy.

    2001 is the shit.

  • mangold

    i’m also really glad fellowship of the ring made it so high up.

  • max not logged in

    I really don’t understand why Vertigo is so highly regarded. Sure, it’s good, but I don’t think it’s that great. Chinatown deserves the #1 spot. I also think Blue Velvet, Rear Window, and the Maltese Falcon should beat Vertigo.

    I love 2001, but I think it is a hard sell to claim there is any better science-fiction film than E.T.

    I never would have considered Saving Private Ryan an epic if AFI hadn’t told me so.

  • mangold

    gotta disagree on the first two points. vertigo’s one of my all-time favorites, and so i think its reputation is pretty well-deserved. i think it’s hitchcock’s best.

    and i love e.t., but i wouldn’t put it in the same ballpark as 2001…

    i completely agree on saving private ryan though. i mean if that film, a war film, is eligible for best epic then what about apocalypse now?

  • Holden Caulfield

    Is 2001 A Space Odyssey better than clock work orange never seen A Space Odyssey. Vertigo is great but I think North by Northwest was a much better film. You don’t have this up there but the Western Genres was all wrong. They didn’t even have the Good, Bad and the Ugly. While in the Gangster genres how is Bonnie and Clyde a gangster movie? I personally don’t like AFI when they rank modern movies like Lord of the Rings, toy story when they rank movies in the top 100 it feels disgraceful to the older movies. I know Lord of the Rings is good but is it better than Titantic in the TOP 100? Whats up with that.

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