In case you missed it, I’ve been working my way through the AFI 100 list! I first wrote about this goal (and shared more info about what the list is and how it came to be in this blog post, and then in September, I posted an update with ten films I’d watched. My goal is to eventually see every film on the list, and I thought it would be fun to keep you updated along the way. Admittedly I have not seen as many films as I would have liked since my last update (I’ve gone from 33 to 40… watching 8 films, one was a repeat).
There is a good reason for this, though: I’ve been equally focused on seeing all the best picture noms before the Oscars in a couple weeks. (And in the case of this weekend, I wanted lighthearted escapism). I also keep a running movie highlight on my instagram page if you want to see what else I’ve been watching.
AFI 100 Update: February
What I watched this month:
I was dying to watch this because a) I had heard Grace Kelly’s outfits were bananas (and they were!) b) I love Alfred Hitchcock and c) I’d heard that it had inspired many modern thrillers like The Woman in the Window. And bonus points, Jimmy Stewart, who I have such a crush on. A photographer is laid up at home with a broken leg and his only entertainment is watching his neighbors through the window. But when he thinks he’s witnessed a murder, he turns into an amateur detective. I absolutely LOVED this and would highly recommend it.
Sound of Music (rewatch!)
Oh my goodness I forgot how magical this was. I watched it as a child but it (my grandmother loved it) and remember really enjoying it, but hadn’t revisited it as an adult. Julie Andrews is just perfection and Christopher Plummer is an absolute dream boat. In fact, I watched this on the flight home from Vienna and wanted to sing along with it. The happiest (plus perfect as it’s set in Austria). I also forgot how romantic it is. The chemistry between Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer was epic.
This is a prison movie with nary a female in site and I have to tell you… it may rather shockingly be one of my top ten favorite movies of all time. It’s about a man who is (maybe) wrongfully convicted of murdering his wife and her lover. It is so heartwarming and just… wonderful. The friendships between the inmates, the solidarity… the scene on the roof with the beers… the characters are also really endearing. You root for them and hope for justice.
More Alfred Hitchcock and Jimmy Stewart. I watched this on Halloween as I wanted something a little creepy… this did not disappoint. And it has such a great twist! Jimmy Stewart plays an investigator who is terribly afraid of heights. The beginning of the movie opens with him being unable to save his colleague… and then he gets hired by an old friend to follow his wife as the friend fears his wife has become possessed. I will say no more but this is an absolute must. In fact, I think it would be really fun to watch this and Rear Window together!
To Kill a Mockingbird
This book was one of my favorites when I read it (high school, probably?) and the movie did not disappoint. (How had I not seen the film!?!) I forgot how much it tugs at the heartstrings (and also Gregory Peck is absolutely incredible as Atticus Finch). Just (in case you’ve forgotten, realize nearly everyone has read the book!) remember: this is a tearjerker!!!
2001: A Space Odyssey
I feel like every guy I know raves and raves about this movie but it never really appealed to me. I think it’s because I put it on once, a long time ago, and immediately fell asleep. It’s 2.5 hours long and the first 20 minutes (while beautiful) are incredibly relaxing. On a cold night, my boyfriend suggested we watch it – luring me with all the design references. I’m so glad I watched it. There is so much to talk about.
From the perils of AI (and trusting a computer with your life) and how far to take it (if you could build emotions into a computer to make it easier to interact with, should you?) to the ending (which was totally wild and felt like I was on drugs). And yes – the design references are amazing. So I will always now think of the monolith when I look at my iPhone!
In The Heat of the Night
I absolutely loved this. Besides being extremely socially relevant right now, it is one of the most beautifully shot films maybe ever. Sidney Poitier (Mister Tibbs) is in Mississippi, minding his business waiting for the train when he is pulled in for questioning for a murder by the local racist cop. The first twist? He’s a homicide detective. Tibbs winds up stuck with the cop (played by Rod Steiger) to solve the murder. It starts out incredibly tense but eventually the cop realizes how brilliant Tibbs is. The twists and turns are fun (with an exciting ending). It’s an accurate portrayal of the deep south in the sixties, the cinematography is also absolutely mesmerizing (the light! the shadows!), and the film was very very much ahead of its time.
I cannot believe I had never seen this as I absolutely LOVED it. An aging silent film starlet (Norma Desmond) refuses to believe that her career has ended. Through a chance (or maybe not so chance) encounter, she meets a younger screenwriter, Joe…. enlisting her to help her make her comeback. Their relationship eventually turns into more (though he’s ambivalent and she wants more). It has a devastating ending. This is beautifully shot, incredibly creepy at times and just SO GOOD!
HERE’S THE FULL LIST!
The starred ones, I’d already watched before I started this little goal.
- Citizen Kane (1941)
- The Godfather (1972)
- Casablanca (1942)
- Raging Bull (1980)
- Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
- Gone with the Wind (1939)
- Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
- Schindler’s List (1993)*
- Vertigo (1958)
- The Wizard of Oz (1939)*
- City Lights (1931)
- The Searchers (1956)
- Star Wars IV: A New Hope (1977)
- Psycho (1960)*
- 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
- Sunset Boulevard (1950)
- The Graduate (1967)*
- The General (1927)
- On The Waterfront (1954)
- It’s a Wonderful Life (1947)*
- Chinatown (1974)*
- Some Like it Hot (1959)
- The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
- E.T. : The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)*
- To Kill a Mockingbird (1963)
- Mr. Smith goes to Washington (1939)
- High Noon (1952)
- All About Eve (1950)
- Double Indemnity (1944)
- Apocalypse Now (1979)
- The Maltese Falcon (1941)
- The Godfather Part 2 (1974)
- One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
- Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1938)
- Annie Hall (1977)*
- The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
- The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
- The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
- Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb (1964)
- Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music (1965)*
- King Kong (1933)
- Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
- The Midnight Cowboy (1969)
- The Philadelphia Story (1940)
- Shane (1953)
- It Happened One Night (1934)
- A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
- Rear Window (1955)
- Intolerance (1916)
- The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
- West Side Story (1961)
- Taxi Driver (1976)*
- The Deer Hunter (1979)
- M*A*S*H (1970)
- North by Northwest (1959)*
- Jaws (1975)*
- Rocky (1976)*
- The Gold Rush (1925)
- Nashville (1975)
- Duck Soup (1933)
- Sullivan’s Travels (1941)
- American Graffiti (1973)
- Cabaret (1973)
- Network (1976)*
- The African Queen (1952)
- Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)*
- Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1966)
- Unforgiven (1992)
- Tootsie (1982)
- A Clockwork Orange (1972)
- Saving Private Ryan (1998)*
- Shawshank Redemption (1994)
- Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
- Silence of the Lambs (1991)*
- In the Heat of the Night (1967)
- Forrest Gump (1994)*
- All the President’s Men (1976)
- Modern Times (1936)
- The Wild Bunch (1969)
- The Apartment (1960)
- Spartacus (1960)
- Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927)
- Titanic (1997)*
- Easy Rider (1969)
- A Night at the Opera (1935)
- Platoon (1986)
- 12 Angry Men (1957)
- Bringing Up Baby (1938)
- The Sixth Sense (1999)*
- Swing Time (1936)
- Sophie’s Choice (1983)
- GoodFellas (1990)
- The French Connection (1971)
- Pulp Fiction (1994)*
- The Last Picture Show (1971)
- Do the Right Thing (1989)
- Blade Runner (1982)*
- Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)
- Toy Story (1995)*
- Ben-Hur (1959)
Since your first post I’ve gone from having seen 68 to all 100 of the films! I would never, never, never, ever have watched Shawshank or 2001 for any other reason and I ended up loving both movies. In the Heat of the Night was just OK for me. I loved the acting but I found it a bit slow going.
I rewatched Sunset, Mockingbird, Rear Window, and Vertigo pretty recently and can’t say enough good things about them. I’ll revisit Sound of Music sometime soon.
WOW I am impressed! I need to up the ante. 🙂
The Sound of Music!!! So good. I’ve rewatched sooo many times and it never disappoints.
As an amateur movie fanatic, I have never considered musicals as candidates for a list of must see movies. My only exception to this rule is The Wizard of Oz bcz of its groundbreaking advances in filmography.
I also recommend a movie of groundbreaking significance, panned at it’s release by every major critic, A Hard Day’s Night, only to be recognized much later.
I also noticed that you omitted How Green Was My Valley and The Quiet Man.
Thanks Erik – to be clear, I don’t make this list, the AFI did.
I have watched 56 out of 100 on the list of movies.
Great list! I am interested in watching all the rest.
I’m so jealous you get to watch some of these for the first time. Rear Window, The Apartment, All the president’s men are some of my favorite films. Sullivan’s travels is so seminal in film history.
Thank you for the recs. Going to prioritize watching these both!
Rear Window is one of my favorite movies. I’m not surprised you liked it based on your love of thrillers! And you’re so right – Grace Kelly’s costumes are truly on another level in that movie.
I think you might also like The Deer Hunter, All The Presidents’ Men, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, and Cabaret. Also I *love* Goodfellas, so I’ll be curious if that’s up your alley or not since it’s basically a mafia movie (but it has a very nice looking young Ray Liotta and it’s Martin Scorsese, and who doesn’t love his movies?!).
Anyways, I always love these updates from you!
Thank you so much for the recommendations – I so appreciate them!
You are soooo right about Christopher Plummer…total dreamboat. How could ANYONE stay a nun around him?!
Also I know Kurt is a Nazi and the worst but I still dream of having a gazebo moment like Liesl. Her dress, the kiss, the rain!
Agree agree agree!!!!
Love these updates! Would be awesome if you also listed where you watched them (Netflix, Amazon etc)
Thanks Jillian, I will try – usually I just rent them on iTunes. Justwatch.com is a great tool here. You can add all the movies you’re looking to watch and what streaming services you have, and it also tells you where you can watch them!
Sound of Music is my favorite movie of all time. <3 <3
It”s so wonderful!
Some of these are really good! I might join you on this journey.
I got a little more than halfway through The Maltese Falcon the other day, and switched to CNN to watch coverage about Ukraine. Never went back. I read A Gentleman in Moscow recently and decided I’d watch or rewatch the films they mentioned in the book, because it reminded me how many great movies came out during that time.
I also want to watch the original Rebecca. In my mind Daphne du Maurier + Alfred Hitchcock = a perfect match. Loved the book. The remake on Netflix wasn’t very good. It’s one of those books that will spoil modern thrillers for you a bit. It seems a lot are heavily influenced by Rebecca, And Then There Were None, and Jane Eyre. I can’t pick up a certain popular thriller author anymore, because their retellings of the classics are pretty terrible.
I want to watch that too… agree that the new Rebecca was not very good!