AFI’s 100 Years… 100 Songs

logo

AFI’s 100 Years… 100 Songs

The American Film Institute (AFI) broadcast its “AFI’s 100 Years…100 Songs” program — counting down the 100 greatest songs from American movies, as chosen by experts of the motion picture community — in a three-hour television event on CBS on June 22, 2004, hosted by John Travolta.

If I had a vote (and I don’t, once again), I’m not really sure which songs I’d have voted for, but I do think that they would be songs integral to the films rather than those songs written and performed by musical stars, which play over the credits while everybody is leaving the theater, and which then become top 40 hits, regardless of how well the movie does.

That means, of course, that “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “Singin’ in the Rain” should be preferred over tunes like “I Don’t Want To Miss a Thing” from Armageddon or “My Heart Will Go On” from Titanic. Fortunately, songs like that are somewhat scarce on the list of nominees. There are plenty of songs from musicals, or tunes that help move the plot along. I’m looking forward to a much more satisfying event than last year’s somewhat oddly-focused “Heroes and Villains” show.

In any case, it’s all for a good cause (film preservation), and as I said in previous years, if it introduces more people to some great older films, it will be worth the trouble. The program is always fun to watch, too. You can see a complete list of the nominees here, with a link to a printable version of it if you’d like to make your own choices and see how you do.

Update: Now that the program is over, we can see that our fears were unjustified; most of the songs chosen were from classics, including lots of Astaire and Garland tunes. You’ll notice that most of the top 10 songs in the AFI poll were included in my poll, and that the voters in our poll chose “White Christmas” by a slim margin over “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” which came first in the AFI poll. Here’s the complete list:  

1. “Over The Rainbow” – The Wizard Of Oz (1939)
2. “As Time Goes By” – Casablanca (1942)
3. “Singin’ In The Rain” – Singin’ In The Rain (1952)
4. “Moon River” – Breakfast At Tiffany’s (1961)
5. “White Christmas” – Holiday Inn (1942)
6. “Mrs. Robinson” – The Graduate (1967)
7. “When You Wish Upon A Star” – Pinocchio (1940)
8. “The Way We Were” – The Way We Were (1973)
9. “Stayin’ Alive” – Saturday Night Fever (1977)
10. “The Sound Of Music” – The Sound Of Music (1965)
11. “The Man That Got Away” – A Star Is Born (1954)
12. “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend” – Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)
13. “People” – Funny Girl (1968)
14. “My Heart Will Go On” – Titanic (1997)
15. “Cheek To Cheek” – Top Hat (1935)
16. “Evergreen” – A Star Is Born (1976)
17. “I Could Have Danced All Night” – My Fair Lady (1964)
18. “Cabaret” – Cabaret (1972)
19. “Some Day My Prince Will Come” – Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs (1937)
20. “Somewhere” – West Side Story (1961)
21. “Jailhouse Rock” – Jailhouse Rock (1957)
22. “Everybody’s Talkin'” – Midnight Cowboy (1969)
23. “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head” – Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid (1969)
24. “Ol’ Man River” – Show Boat (1936)
25. “High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darlin)” – High Noon (1952)
26. “The Trolley Song” – Meet Me In St. Louis (1944)
27. “Unchained Melody” – Ghost (1990)
28. “Some Enchanted Evening” – South Pacific (1958)
29. “Born To Be Wild” – Easy Rider (1969)
30. “Stormy Weather” – Stormy Weather (1943)
31. “Theme From New York, New York” – New York, New York (1977)
32. “I Got Rhythm” – An American In Paris (1951)
33. “Aquarius” – Hair (1979)
34. “Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off” – Shall We Dance (1937)
35. “America” – West Side Story (1961)
36. “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” – Mary Poppins (1964)
37. “Swinging On A Star” – Going My Way (1944)
38. “Theme From Shaft” – Shaft (1971)
39. “Days Of Wine And Roses” – Days Of Wine And Roses (1963)
40. “Fight The Power” – Do The Right Thing (1989)
41. “New York, New York” – On The Town (1949)
42. “Luck Be A Lady” – Guys And Dolls (1955)
43. “The Way You Look Tonight” – Swing Time (1936)
44. “Wind Beneath My Wings” – Beaches (1988)
45. “That’s Entertainment” – The Band Wagon (1953)
46. “Don’t Rain On My Parade” – Funny Girl (1968)
47. “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah” – Song Of The South (1947)
48. “Que Sera, Sera” – The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
49. “Make ‘Em Laugh” – Singin’ In The Rain (1952)
50. “Rock Around The Clock” – Blackboard Jungle (1955)
51. “Fame” – Fame (1980)
52. “Summertime” – Porgy And Bess (1959)
53. “Goldfinger” – Goldfinger (1964)
54. “Shall We Dance?” – The King And I (1956)
55. “What A Feeling” – Flashdance (1983)
56. “Thank Heaven For Little Girls” – Gigi (1958)
57. “The Windmills Of Your Mind” – The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)
58. “Gonna Fly Now” – Rocky (1976)
59. “Tonight” – West Side Story (1961)
60. “It Had To Be You” – When Harry Met Sally… (1989)
61. “Get Happy” – Summer Stock (1950)
62. “Beauty And The Beast” – Beauty And The Beast (1991)
63. “Thanks For The Memory” – The Big Broadcast Of 1938 (1938)
64. “My Favorite Things” – The Sound Of Music (1965)
65. “I Will Always Love You” – The Bodyguard (1992)
66. “Suicide Is Painless” – M*A*S*H (1970)
67. “Nobody Does It Better” – The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
68. “Streets Of Philadelphia” – Philadelphia (1993)
69. “On The Good Ship Lollipop” – Bright Eyes (1934)
70. “Summer Nights” – Grease (1978)
71. “Yankee Doodle Boy” – Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)
72. “Good Morning” – Singin’ In The Rain (1952)
73. “Isn’t It Romantic?” – Love Me Tonight (1932)
74. “Rainbow Connection” – The Muppet Movie (1979)
75. “Up Where We Belong” – An Officer And A Gentleman (1982)
76. “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” – Meet Me In St. Louis (1944)
77. “The Shadow Of Your Smile” – The Sandpiper (1965)
78. “9 To 5″ – 9 To 5 (1980)
79. “Arthur’s Theme” – Arthur (1981)
80. “Springtime For Hitler” – The Producers (1968)
81. “I’m Easy” – Nashville (1975)
82. “Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead” – The Wizard Of Oz (1939)
83. “The Rose” – The Rose (1979)
84. “Put The Blame On Mame” – Gilda (1946)
85. “Come What May” – Moulin Rouge! (2001)
86. “(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life” – Dirty Dancing (1987)
87. “Buttons And Bows” – The Paleface (1948)
88. “Do Re Mi” – The Sound Of Music (1965)
89. “Puttin’ On The Ritz” – Young Frankenstein (1974)
90. “Seems Like Old Times” – Annie Hall (1977)
91. “Let The River Run” – Working Girl (1988)
92. “Long Ago And Far Away” – Cover Girl (1944)
93. “Lose Yourself” – 8 Mile (2002)
94. “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg” – The Big Chill (1983)
95. “The Road To Morocco” – Road To Morocco (1942)
96. “Footloose” – Footloose (1984)
97. “42nd Street” – 42nd Street (1933)
98. “All That Jazz” – Chicago (2002)
99. “Hakuna Matata” – The Lion King (1994)
100. “Old Time Rock And Roll” – Risky Business (1983)

For a great write-up on the program, visit Tim Dirk’s The Greatest Films site.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>