On June 17th, 2008 an independent organization The American Film Institute (AFI) presented a list of “America’s 10 greatest films in 10 classic genres”. The winners were selected from 500 nominated films (50 in each genre). The jury consisted of 1500 representatives from the field of art: directors, screenwriters, actors, operators, critics and historians.
The largest amount of films included in the list has Alfred Hitchcock (four movies in total). The second place goes to Steven Spielberg and Stanley Kubrick, who have three movies each. All 100 movies were unveiled on a special television broadcast on CBS. The announcement of the list was entrusted to famous figures of the cinema world, such as Quentin Tarantino, Clint Eastwood, Cuba M. Gooding, Jr, Jessica Alba and others.
1. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Release Date: 4th Feb, 1938
Director: David Hand
“Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” became a leader among other nominated films in the category of animated movies. This fantasy cartoon is based on the eponymous fairytale written by Grimm Brothers. More than five hundred artists spent about three years and a half million dollars to create the first full-length movie of the Walt Disney Studio.
The screen version of the fairy tale describes a story about a Snow White and her evil stepmother, who learns from a magic mirror that Snow White is now the most beautiful girl in the world. The envious woman decided to kill her adorable step-daughter. But the girl not only survived but met real friends – dwarfs.
2. City Lights
Genre: romantic comedy
Release Date: 7th Mar, 1931
Director: Charles Chaplin
Romantic comedy “City Lights” was directed by the great Charlie Chaplin, who also starred in this movie at the very end of an era of silent films. The plot of the film tells a beautiful love story of a street tramp and a cute blind girl.
One day little tramp meets a beautiful girl on the street, who is selling flowers, but she mistakes him for a rich duke. Later he learns that the surgery can restore girl’s vision and begins his search for money. The destiny helps him in this difficult and good deed, but he also faces some troubles along the way.
3. The Searchers
Release Date: 26 May, 1956
Director: John Ford
“The Searchers” were released in 1956, and now considered to be the best movie in the western genre according to The American Film Institute. This legendary film directed by John Ford and based on the novel by Alan Le May about the events during the Texas-Indian wars.
The story is about the former soldier of the Confederate army Ethan Edwards. He is looking for his niece, who was kidnapped by Comanche. Ethan is not afraid of hunger, thirst or loneliness. And during his five-year search, he finds something he did not expect to find: his own humanity.
4. Raging Bull
Release Date: 1980
Director: Martin Scorsese
The main character of the Martin Scorsese’s movie is a professional boxer Jake LaMotta (Robert De Niro). Jake climbed to the top of his career through the grueling training, the strength of his spirit and fighting force. The plot of the films tells not only about sports but also about the complex relationship between the boxer and his brother Joey (who was also his coach and manager), as well as Jake’s problems with his wife Vickie.
The film “Raging Bull” returned the talented director to life after a drug overdose. Scorsese worked hard and eventually received well-deserved awards: two Oscars, two BAFTA awards and the Golden Globe Award.
Release Date: May 1958
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Psychological thriller “Vertigo” is one of the legendary movies directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The plot of the movie is based on the novel “From Among the Dead” by Boileau-Narcejac. Unlike any other thrillers “Vertigo” has only one dynamic scene at the very beginning. And contrary to all detective traditions, the detective does not investigate the murder, because does not suspect it happening until the very end.
The thriller tells a story about detective John “Scottie” Ferguson, who is forced to retire due to the fear of heights. However, John continues to work as a private detective. One day, his acquainting Gavin Elster asks him to follow his wife Madeleine, who seems to be obsessed with the idea if suicide.
6. The Wizard of Oz
Release Date: 25th Feb, 1939
Director: Victor Fleming, King Vidor
“The Wizard of Oz” is the first pre-war screen version of the classic fairy tale by Frank Baum. During the shooting director Victor Fleming used new at the time technology “Technicolor”. And in 1939 the film was nominated for 6 Oscars, including the Best Picture.
“The Wizard of Oz” describes an incredible journey of a girl from Kansas to a fantasy country. During an unexpected tornado, the girl Dorothy and her little dog Toto find themselves inside the house, which carries them far beyond the rocky mountains and lands in an unusual place with strange creatures and amazing plants.
7. 2001: A Space Odyssey
Release Date: 1968
Director: Stanley Kubrick
The movie “2001: A Space Odyssey” was released in 1968 and opened a new direction in a filmmaking. The film was awarded an Oscar for Best Visual Effects, as well as three BAFTA Awards.
According to the plot, the black monolith was found in an African desert. The same monolith was later found on the surface of the Moon and the orbit of Jupiter. In order to explore the artifact, the space odyssey is directed to Jupiter. Along with the crew travels a new computer mind, which will later play a cruel joke with the astronauts.
8. The Godfather
Release Date: Mar 1972
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
The crime drama “The Godfather” is probably the most famous film in the world. Hundreds of criminal thrillers were created based on the plot of this movie.
The events take place in the middle of the 20th century in New York. The main character Vito Corleone is the godfather of Sicilian Mafia, a respected Don. One day Vito receives an offer to organize narcotics business, but he rejects it. Later he gets attacked and after several gunshots stays in the hospital for a long time. His youngest son Michael initially did not want to participate in the family business, but after an attack on his father starts to revenge on the offenders.
9. To Kill a Mockingbird
Genre: courtroom drama
Release Date: Mar 1963
Director: Robert Mulligan
The drama “To Kill a Mockingbird” based on the eponymous novel written by Harper Lee. The plot describes the trial, which takes place in Alabama. Honest and noble attorney Atticus Finch takes a knowingly lost case: a white young woman Mayella accuses a black man Tom Robinson of raping. Tom is innocent, but society is against the man and ready to believe any fiction.
The trial continues under a constant pressure from the outside. Not only Atticus suffers but also his children: the youngest daughter Jean and elder son Jem. Watching all the efforts of their father and the injustice that is happening around, children begin to perceive the reality of the judicial system. But the help comes from where it was not expected, proving that the world is not so hopeless.
10. Lawrence of Arabia
Release Date: 16th Dec, 1962
Director: David Lean
The plot tells a story of the life of the British officer Lawrence, who actively interacted with the Arab tribes in Syria. The will of fate brings Lawrence to the Middle East, where he has to establish relationships with the Arab prince. The main character wins the respect of the prince and helps the guerrilla war against the Ottoman Empire. But the future holds travels, difficult battles as well as disappointment in the war.
Historical drama “Lawrence of Arabia” was awarded 7 Oscars, 4 Golden Globes, 4 British Academy Awards and also ranked third in the list of the best movies of all time according to the British Film Institute.