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I once read somewhere that people loves lists and I think it’s true. David Letterman’s Top 10 list is always a crowd favorite. On the internet, top 10 lists drive traffic. People love lists. And no film organization loves to make lists more than the American Film Institute (AFI).


The American Film Institute is a non-profit organization created by the National Endowment For The Arts dedicated to the celebration and preservation of movies. Aside from the actual useful task of preserving old movies on degrading film stocks, one of the things the AFI does with tax money and charitable contributions is make lists. They make a lot of lists. 100 Years 100 Movies (Best Movies). 100 Years 100 Stars (Best Movie Stars). 100 Years 100 Laughs (Best Comedies). You get the picture.

This time, the AFI has created a list of the 10 best American movies in 10 arbitrarily chosen genres called the Top 10 Top 10. Are these movies really the best cinematic examples of their respective genres? Maybe. Maybe not.

Top 10 Top 10

I think (hope) these lists are not meant to be authoritative; instead they are meant to represent a starting point for cinephiles and movie fans to go out and discover new and old movies that they may have missed. If, however, these lists were seriously meant to be the definitive list of the 10 best American movies from each respective genre, then the American Film Institute is going to lose a lot of credibility and authority with some of its picks as well as the movies that didn’t make the lists. In the next coming posts, the Moose will examine and critique the American Film Institute’s picks for each genre. Feel free to chime in and join the discussion as we examine the top 10 films in the 10 genres that AFI has chosen.

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