One of my “Just for Fun” Goals.

The AFI 100 List

One of my more fun goals is to watch every movie on the AFI 100 List. Are you familiar with it? I actually wasn’t, until one night a month or two ago. My boyfriend and I were deciding what to watch and he pulled up the list. As someone who watches a lot of movies, I suddenly felt… very, very behind slash uninformed. I have seen a lot of movies but not very many older movies, which is something I want to change.

The AFI 100 List

The list has a wide range. The number one film on the list is Citizen Kane but it ranges from The Godfather to E.T. to Psycho. Toy Story even made the cut (and as much as I loved it, I’m not entirely sure why –  the computer animation, perhaps?). I am having a lot of fun working my way through the list… last night I watched Singin’ in the Rain and really loved it!

Since this is a “just for fun” goal, I’m not setting a timeline to accomplish it. But I feel like there are so many nights where I’m scrolling through Netflix and end up choosing a movie that’s just medium. Working my way list is a much better choice!

A little bit of very basic background (in case you, like me, didn’t know!). The AFI stands for The American Film Institute and the list is meant to celebrate excellence in film. The most important, impactful films of the last 100 years. The list was voted on by 1,500 people (including actors, directors, producers, writers, editors, cinematographers, studio executives, film historians and critics). The first list was unveiled in 1997. You can see the ballot which has the 400 films that were initially voted on. The new “anniversary list” was unveiled in 2007.

These were the criteria for the films that were selected for voting (I pulled this information directly from the ballot):


Narrative format, typically over 60 minutes in length.


Motion picture with significant creative and/or production elements from the United States.


Formal commendation in print, television and digital media.


Recognition from competitive events including awards from peer groups, critics, guilds and major film festivals.


Including success at the box office, television and cable airings, and

DVD/VHS sales and rentals.

Pretty self explanatory.


A film’s mark on the history of the moving image through visionary narrative devices, technical innovation, or other groundbreaking achievements.


A film’s mark on American society in matters of style and substance.

You can take the poll here, it’s fun! I have only watched 23 out of the 100, but am hoping to work my way through the entire list. Love a goal that includes watching more movies!!!!

Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment


  1. Zhaleh:

    My husband and I did this when we were dating in college and it was so fun! We ended up getting derailed when we started watched, “The Graduate,” “Tootsie,” and “All the Kings Men,” within 2 weeks…too much Dustin Hoffman at once. Luckily, you won’t be limited by what your local Blockbuster had in stock!

    9.17.21 Reply
  2. You should check out Paul Scheer’s podcast, ‘Unspooled’! They’re working their way through the AFI 100 and each episode is a deep dive into one of the films.

    9.17.21 Reply
    • I was going to recommend this as well! My husband and I decided to tackle the AFI list a little while ago and listened to the accompanying Unspooled episodes. So much fun! I like how Amy and Paul do research on the movies and then discuss whether or not they would have included the movie on the list or what they would want to add in its place. Enjoy!

      9.17.21 Reply
  3. Katie:

    The actual singing in the rain scene from Singin In The Rain is one of the most romantic scenes in any movie I think. Gene Kelly is just so full of happiness, it always puts me in a happy mood!

    9.17.21 Reply
  4. Mary:

    Feeling good about the 48 out of 100 I’ve seen. My personal recs would be Annie Hall, Sunset Boulevard, The Sound of Music, The Wizard of Oz, Cabaret, All About Eve and The Silence of The Lambs–cheers to films with female protagonists!

    9.17.21 Reply
  5. I loved reading this post sweetie!

    Danielle |

    9.17.21 Reply
  6. Cy:

    I’ve seen 82 out of 100, but I’m old so…..Actually I watched a lot of classic movies growing up with my mom and sisters. Some of these I’ve seen several times ( like Singing in the rain) 🙂 I’m not a huge fan of violent war films and most westerns, I don’t tend to watch those much. Fun goal!

    9.17.21 Reply
  7. Laura:

    This is one of my life goals too and so far, I’ve seen 83/100! Hard to pick my favorites, but if forced, I’d go with these for my top 5:

    All About Eve
    The Philadelphia Story
    The Silence of the Lambs
    The Apartment

    9.17.21 Reply
  8. LB:

    26. I need to step it up!

    9.17.21 Reply
  9. Rachel:

    My husband and I have been working toward seeing all of the AFI 100 since we started dating. At this point, I’ve seen 52 (there are some we saw separately before knowing each other). I’ve always loved classic film, and it’s fun exploring new movies together. To make it easier to find what we can watch via streaming, I’ve been using I’ve saved every movie we haven’t seen to my watchlist, and input which streaming services I have. This makes it so much easier when we’re trying to figure out what to watch – rather than browsing individual services, we can just look at this list and see where something is playing!

    9.17.21 Reply
    • I love that!!! I’ve never heard of that and it sounds like an absolutely brilliant idea.

      9.17.21 Reply
  10. MIchelle:

    I have seen 95 on the list. I agree these of some of the best.

    9.17.21 Reply
  11. Maria:

    I love this! Over covid I started a little ‘project’ watching all of the Best Picture nominated films from each year working backward. I only made it through three years but it was fun and I felt like such a movie buff 🙂 I need to pick it back up

    9.17.21 Reply
  12. Anne at Large:

    What an interesting list, I will have to add some of these to my Watch list too! This sounds like a fun project, I’ve only seen 26 of the movies on it although I spotted some faves (love that you went for Singin’ in the Rain so early, it holds up so well). I am finding as the pandemic continues I am less interested in media that includes a lot of war, violence and particularly sexual violence and that puts a dent in this list that is larger than I expected. I’m looking forward to checking out some of the Hitchcock movies on here, for some reason thrillers are ok but the ones with explicit violence gives me nightmares now. Talk about first world problems, I know, but thank you for the inspiration, this is a great idea!

    9.19.21 Reply
  13. Carrie:

    61 here. I saw a lot of these growing up with my movie loving parents. We watch It’s A Wonderful Life every year at Christmas and will put on American Graffiti at least once a year too . So fun to see so many classic actors young and gorgeous – like Harrison Ford.

    9.20.21 Reply
  14. Vanessa:

    I’m a HUGE (like, massive) classic film fan so this post made me extremely happy! So thrilled you’re diving into the AFI list. Singin’ In the Rain is one of my Top 10 favourite films of all time, so I’m super glad you enjoyed that one. I used to watch it every single day when I was a tween. I’d come home from school and pop my VHS copy into the VCR and get lost in it for a couple hours. Sometimes I’d even watch it twice in one day haha!

    9.23.21 Reply
  15. Becca:

    Love hearing other people going down this journey! I started in grad school with two of my good friends and 10+ years later I’m only at 81, been slacking in recent years. I really love Sunset Blvd, the Apartment and All About Eve among many other really great movies you’ve probably already seen.

    9.26.21 Reply