How long does it take to watch 100 movies?

I decided I wanted to watch every movie on the American Film Institute’s (AFI) 100 Years 100 Movies list. I figured it would be pretty easy. I could average two movies a week and be done in a year.

I started the mission four years ago and have only checked 20 movies off my list, which I excitedly printed out. In color. And color-coded the entries depending on whether I own the film or not, and whether I have seen it already or not.

To be clear, there are obviously movies on the list I had already seen, some even multiple times. But I wanted to watch the 100 movies that one of the oldest and most influential film organizations considers the best American films.

Citizen Kane tops the list, followed by The Godfather, Casablanca, Raging Bull and Singin’ In the Rain. Rounding out the top 10 are Gone With the Wind, Lawrence of Arabia, Schindler’s List, Vertigo and The Wizard of Oz.

You can find the complete list on AFI’s website:

Yesterday marked the four-year anniversary of the day that I started this time-waster, and these films are considered essential viewing.

Obviously I’ve watched more than 100 movies in the last four years. I just haven’t been watching the ones on AFI’s list.

The first movie I checked off on August 7, 2007, was Toy Story, the 99th movie on the list. I can tell I was really excited about the mission I gave myself, because I watched Ben-Hur the next day, Blade Runner a few days later, and Pulp Fiction, Sophie’s Choice, 12 Angry MenGoodfellas and Shawshank Redemption within a month. Then I put the list away and found it a few days ago and realized that it takes a very special kind of obsessive person to write down the dates on which he watched a movie on some list… It’s A Wonderful Life, Dec. 8, 2007. The Graduate, Jan. 14, 2008. All About Eve, Feb. 25, 2008.

I own a good chunk of the movies on the AFI list and in many instances (like for the movies in the top 10), it’s a matter of me re-watching the films to check them off my printed-out AFI list.

Finding my list still neat and in good condition has reignited my excitement about completing the mission my pathetic 18-year-old self gave me. Not surprisingly, my social life – or lack thereof – has not gotten any more existent in the last four years.

I have 80 movies left to check off the list. I’m not going to make the mistake of giving myself a deadline, so let me just say I’m working on it. I hope this post will at least shame me into watching more movies off the list

Follow the jump for the 80 films I have to watch or re-watch.

Twelve days after the original post (above), and I have not been able to check anything off the AFI list. Here are the 80 I have left to watch or re-watch:

(1) Citizen Kane*
(2) The Godfather*
(4) Raging Bull*
(5) Singin’ in the Rain*
(6) Gone with the Wind*
(7) Lawrence of Arabia*
(8) Schindler’s List*
(9) Vertigo*
(10) The Wizard of Oz*
(11) City Lights
(12) The Searchers
(13) Star Wars*
(14) Psycho*
(15) 2001: A Space Odyssey
(16) Sunset Boulevard
(18) The Graduate*
(19) On the Waterfront*
(21) Chinatown*
(22) Some Like It Hot*
(23) The Grapes of Wrath
(24) E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial*
(25) To Kill a Mockingbird*
(26) Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
(27) High Noon
(29) Double Indemnity
(30) Apocalypse Now*
(31) The Maltese Falcon
(32) The Godfather Part II*
(33) One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest*
(34) Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs*
(35) Annie Hall*
(36) The Bridge on the River Kwai
(37) The Best Years of Our Lives
(38) The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
(39) Dr. Strangelove
(41) King Kong*
(42) Bonnie and Clyde*
(43) Midnight Cowboy
(44) The Philadelphia Story
(45) Shane
(46) It Happened One Night
(47) A Streetcar Named Desire
(48) Rear Window*
(49) Intolerance
(52) Taxi Driver*
(53) The Deer Hunter
(54) MASH
(55) North by Northwest
(56) Jaws*
(57) Rocky*
(58) The Gold Rush
(59) Nashville
(60) Duck Soup
(61) Sullivan’s Travels
(62) American Graffiti
(63) Cabaret*
(64) Network*
(65) The African Queen
(67) Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf
(68) Unforgiven
(70) A Clockwork Orange*
(71) Saving Private Ryan*
(73) Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
(74) The Silence of the Lambs*
(75) In the Heat of the Night
(76) Forrest Gump*
(77) All the President’s Men*
(78) Modern Times
(79) The Wild Bunch
(80) The Apartment
(82) Sunrise
(83) Titanic*
(84) Easy Rider
(85) A Night at the Opera
(86) Platoon*
(88) Bringing Up Baby
(90) Swing Time
(95) The Last Picture Show
(96) Do the Right Thing
(98) Yankee Doodle Dandy

* indicates a movie I have already seen, but would watch again for the purposes of my mission


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