The American Film Institute revealed their 100 Most Inspiring Films of All Time in a three hour special on CBS last night. I tuned in late as I had a telephone meeting with a book club that was discussing Ribbon of Years, so I missed seeing clips and hearing comments on the first 40 or so films.
In glancing down the list, there are only three films which I may not have seen. I say "may not" because it is possible/even probable that I saw them (at least on TV) and they didn’t have much impact on me, for good or for bad. I certainly know the titles. I just can’t be sure I’ve seen them. Maybe I’d better see if they are available on Netflix.
The one movie on this list of inspiring films that caused me to stop in my tracks was #78, Thelma & Louise. T&L inspiring? Let’s see. Two women leave boyfriend and husband, commit crimes including shooting an attempted rapist, run from the police, and then drive off a cliff rather than get caught. Sorry. I think of inspiring as being something uplifting and encouraging (even if the movie has lots of hardship, such as Schindler’s List). But how is committing murder and suicide uplifting? Thelma & Louise has loads of fans, and it can be called well-acted, exciting, dangerous, titillating. But I don’t consider it an inspiring film by any stretch of the imagination. It isn’t a film that makes me want to be a better person. Just my opinion.
Here’s the Top Ten, all terrific and inspiring:
|1||IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE||1946|
|2||TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD||1962|
|5||MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON||1939|
|6||E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL||1982|
|7||THE GRAPES OF WRATH||1940|
|9||MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET||1947|
|10||SAVING PRIVATE RYAN||1998|
To see the full list, visit the AFI site.
What would be on your Top 100 list of most inspiring films that didn’t make this list? And are there any that you would remove?