AFI's 100 Years...100 Thrills

Part of the AFI 100 Years… series, AFI's 100 Years…100 Thrills is a list of the top 100 most exciting, action-packed, suspenseful or frightening movies in American cinema. The list was unveiled by the American Film Institute on June 12, 2001, during a CBS special hosted by Harrison Ford.

Nine Alfred Hitchcock films made the list, making him the most represented director.

AFI 100 Years... series
1998100 Movies
1999100 Stars
2000100 Laughs
2001100 Thrills
2002100 Passions
2003100 Heroes & Villains
2004100 Songs
2005100 Movie Quotes
200525 Scores
2006100 Cheers
200625 Musicals
2007100 Movies (Updated)
2008AFI's 10 Top 10

List of films

# Film Director Year
1. Psycho Alfred Hitchcock 1960
2. Jaws Steven Spielberg 1975
3. The Exorcist William Friedkin 1973
4. North by Northwest Alfred Hitchcock 1959
5. The Silence of the Lambs Jonathan Demme 1991
6. Alien Ridley Scott 1979
7. The Birds Alfred Hitchcock 1963
8. The French Connection William Friedkin 1971
9. Rosemary's Baby Roman Polanski 1968
10. Raiders of the Lost Ark Steven Spielberg 1981
11. The Godfather Francis Ford Coppola 1972
12. King Kong Merian C. Cooper 1933
13. Bonnie and Clyde Arthur Penn 1967
14. Rear Window Alfred Hitchcock 1954
15. Deliverance John Boorman 1972
16. Chinatown Roman Polanski 1974
17. The Manchurian Candidate John Frankenheimer 1962
18. Vertigo Alfred Hitchcock 1958
19. The Great Escape John Sturges 1963
20. High Noon Fred Zinnemann 1952
21. A Clockwork Orange Stanley Kubrick 1971
22. Taxi Driver Martin Scorsese 1976
23. Lawrence of Arabia David Lean 1962
24. Double Indemnity Billy Wilder 1944
25. Titanic James Cameron 1997
26. The Maltese Falcon John Huston 1941
27. Star Wars George Lucas 1977
28. Fatal Attraction Adrian Lyne 1987
29. The Shining Stanley Kubrick 1980
30. The Deer Hunter Michael Cimino 1978
31. Close Encounters of the Third Kind Steven Spielberg 1977
32. Strangers on a Train Alfred Hitchcock 1951
33. The Fugitive Andrew Davis 1993
34. The Night of the Hunter Charles Laughton 1955
35. Jurassic Park Steven Spielberg 1993
36. Bullitt Peter Yates 1968
37. Casablanca Michael Curtiz 1942
38. Notorious Alfred Hitchcock 1946
39. Die Hard John McTiernan 1988
40. 2001: A Space Odyssey Stanley Kubrick 1968
41. Dirty Harry Don Siegel 1971
42. The Terminator James Cameron 1984
43. The Wizard of Oz Victor Fleming 1939
44. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial Steven Spielberg 1982
45. Saving Private Ryan Steven Spielberg 1998
46. Carrie Brian De Palma 1976
47. Invasion of the Body Snatchers Don Siegel 1956
48. Dial M for Murder Alfred Hitchcock 1954
49. Ben-Hur William Wyler 1959
50. Marathon Man John Schlesinger 1976
51. Raging Bull Martin Scorsese 1980
52. Rocky John G. Avildsen 1976
53. Pulp Fiction Quentin Tarantino 1994
54. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid George Roy Hill 1969
55. Wait Until Dark Terence Young 1967
56. Frankenstein James Whale 1931
57. All the President's Men Alan J. Pakula 1976
58. The Bridge on the River Kwai David Lean 1957
59. Planet of the Apes Franklin J. Schaffner 1968
60. The Sixth Sense M. Night Shyamalan 1999
61. Cape Fear J. Lee Thompson 1962
62. Spartacus Stanley Kubrick 1960
63. What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? Robert Aldrich 1962
64. Touch of Evil Orson Welles 1958
65. The Dirty Dozen Robert Aldrich 1967
66. The Matrix The Wachowskis 1999
67. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre John Huston 1948
68. Halloween John Carpenter 1978
69. The Wild Bunch Sam Peckinpah 1969
70. Dog Day Afternoon Sidney Lumet 1975
71. Goldfinger Guy Hamilton 1964
72. Platoon Oliver Stone 1986
73. Laura Otto Preminger 1944
74. Blade Runner Ridley Scott 1982
75. The Third Man Carol Reed 1949
76. Thelma & Louise Ridley Scott 1991
77. Terminator 2: Judgment Day James Cameron 1991
78. Gaslight George Cukor 1944
79. The Magnificent Seven John Sturges 1960
80. Rebecca Alfred Hitchcock 1940
81. The Omen Richard Donner 1976
82. The Day the Earth Stood Still Robert Wise 1951
83. The Phantom of the Opera Rupert Julian 1925
84. Poltergeist Tobe Hooper 1982
85. Dracula Tod Browning 1931
86. The Picture of Dorian Gray Albert Lewin 1945
87. The Thing from Another World Christian Nyby 1951
88. 12 Angry Men Sidney Lumet 1957
89. The Guns of Navarone J. Lee Thompson 1961
90. The Poseidon Adventure Ronald Neame 1972
91. Braveheart Mel Gibson 1995
92. Body Heat Lawrence Kasdan 1981
93. Night of the Living Dead George A. Romero 1968
94. The China Syndrome James Bridges 1979
95. Full Metal Jacket Stanley Kubrick 1987
96. Blue Velvet David Lynch 1986
97. Safety Last! Fred C. Newmeyer
Sam Taylor
98. Blood Simple Joel Coen
Ethan Coen
99. Speed Jan de Bont 1994
100. The Adventures of Robin Hood Michael Curtiz 1938


  • Feature-Length Fiction Film: The film must be in narrative format, typically more than 60 minutes long.
  • American Film: The film must be in the English language with significant creative and/or financial production elements from the United States.
  • Thrills: Regardless of genre, the total adrenaline-inducing impact of a film’s artistry and craft must create an experience that engages our bodies as well as our minds.
  • Legacy: Films whose "thrills" have enlivened and enriched America’s film heritage while continuing to inspire contemporary artists and audiences.

External links

AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions

Part of the AFI 100 Years… series, AFI's 100 Years…100 Passions is a list of the top 100 greatest love stories in American cinema. The list was unveiled by the American Film Institute on June 11, 2002, in a CBS television special hosted by American film and TV actress Candice Bergen.

Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn are tied for the most films in the list, with six each. They co-starred in two of them - Bringing Up Baby and The Philadelphia Story. Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart each have five movies on the list. They co-starred in Sabrina.

AFI 100 Years... series

The AFI's 100 Years… series is a series of lists and accompanying CBS television specials from 1998 through 2008 in which the American Film Institute celebrated 100 years of the greatest films in American cinema. The list is intended to ignite interest in classical Hollywood cinema.

Attack (1956 film)

Attack, also known as Attack!, is a 1956 American war film. It was directed by Robert Aldrich and starred Jack Palance, Eddie Albert, Lee Marvin, William Smithers, Robert Strauss, Richard Jaeckel, Buddy Ebsen and Peter van Eyck. The cinematographer was Joseph Biroc.

"A cynical and grim account of war", the film is set in the latter stages of World War II and tells the story of a front-line combat unit led by a cowardly captain clearly out of his depth, as well as a tougher subordinate and an executive officer who both threaten to do away with him. As the official trailer put it: "Not every gun is pointed at the enemy!"

The film won the 1956 Italian Film Critics Award.

Blood Simple

Blood Simple is a 1984 American neo-noir crime film written, edited, produced, and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. It was the directorial debut of the Coens and the first major film of cinematographer Barry Sonnenfeld, who later became a noted director, as well as the feature-film debut of Joel Coen's wife Frances McDormand, who subsequently starred in many of his features.

The film's title derives from the Dashiell Hammett novel Red Harvest (1929), in which the term "blood simple" describes the addled, fearful mindset of people after prolonged immersion in violent situations.In 2001, a director's cut was released. It ranked number 98 on AFI's 100 Years...100 Thrills. The film also placed 73rd on Bravo's 100 Scariest Movie Moments.

Boomerang (1947 film)

Boomerang! is a 1947 American crime film noir based on the true story of a vagrant who was accused of murder, only to be found not guilty through the efforts of the prosecutor. It stars Dana Andrews, Lee J. Cobb, Karl Malden, Arthur Kennedy and Jane Wyatt.

The film was directed by Elia Kazan, based on a story (written by Fulton Oursler, credited as "Anthony Abbot") in Reader's Digest and was shot largely in Stamford, Connecticut after Kazan was denied permission to film in Bridgeport, Connecticut, where the actual events occurred. This semidocumentary also contains voice-overs by Reed Hadley. The film was entered into the 1947 Cannes Film Festival.

Call Northside 777

Call Northside 777 is a 1948 reality-based film noir directed by Henry Hathaway and starring James Stewart. The picture parallels a true story of a Chicago reporter who proved that a man in prison for murder was wrongly convicted 11 years before. The names of the real wrongly convicted men were Majczek and Marcinkiewicz for the murder of Chicago Traffic Police Officer William D. Lundy.

Stewart stars as the persistent journalist and Richard Conte plays the imprisoned Frank Wiecek. Wiecek is based on Joseph Majczek, who was wrongly convicted of the murder of a Chicago policeman in 1932, one of the worst years of organized crime during Prohibition.

Carrie (1976 film)

Carrie is a 1976 American supernatural horror film directed by Brian De Palma from a screenplay written by Lawrence D. Cohen adapted from Stephen King's 1974 epistolary novel of the same name. The film stars Sissy Spacek as Carrie White, a seventeen-year-old diffident teenager who is the butt of practical jokes at high school. One day she discovers her possession of telekinetic powers and puts her powers to use when she is humiliated with pranks. The film also featured Piper Laurie, Amy Irving, Nancy Allen, William Katt, Betty Buckley, and John Travolta in supporting roles.

The film was based on King's first novel by the same name. De Palma was intrigued by the story and pushed for the studio to direct it while Spacek was encouraged by her husband to audition. It is the first of more than 100 film and television productions adapted from, or based on, the published works of King.

Carrie was theatrically released on November 3, 1976 by United Artists. The film became a critical and commercial success, grossing over $33.8 million against its $1.8 million budget. It received two nominations at the 49th Academy Awards: Best Actress (for Spacek) and Best Supporting Actress (for Laurie).

It is widely cited by critics and audience members alike as the best adaption of the novel amongst the numerous films and television shows based on the character, as well as one of the best films based on King's publications. The film has had a significant influence on popular culture. Several publications have regarded it as one of the greatest horror films of all time. In 2008, Carrie was ranked 86th on Empire's list of The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time. It was ranked 15th on Entertainment Weekly's list of the 50 Best High School Movies, 46th on the American Film Institute list AFI's 100 Years...100 Thrills. The film's prom scene has had a major influence on popular culture and has been discussed, analysed and parodied numerous times and was ranked 8th on Bravo 's The 100 Scariest Moments in Cinematic History (2004).

Copycat (film)

Copycat is a 1995 American psychological thriller directed by Jon Amiel and starring Sigourney Weaver, Holly Hunter and Dermot Mulroney. The score was composed by Christopher Young.

Death Race 2000

Death Race 2000 is a 1975 American action film directed by Paul Bartel, and starring David Carradine, Simone Griffeth and Sylvester Stallone. The film takes place in a dystopian American society in the year 2000, where the murderous Transcontinental Road Race has become a form of national entertainment. The screenplay is based on the short story "The Racer" by Ib Melchior.

Destination Tokyo

Destination Tokyo is a 1943 black and white American submarine war film. It was directed by Delmer Daves in his directorial debut, and the screenplay was written by Daves and Albert Maltz, based on an original story by former submariner Steve Fisher. The film stars Cary Grant and John Garfield and features Dane Clark, Robert Hutton, and Warner Anderson, along with John Ridgely, Alan Hale Sr., and William Prince. Production began on June 21, 1943 and continued through September 4 of that year. The film premiered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on December 15, 1943 as a benefit for crippled children, and was released generally in the U.S. on December 31, 1943.

Destination Tokyo has been called "the granddaddy of submarine films like Run Silent, Run Deep (1958), Das Boot (1981), and U-571 (2000)".

Don't Bother to Knock

Don't Bother to Knock is a 1952 American film noir thriller starring Richard Widmark and Marilyn Monroe and directed by Roy Ward Baker.

The screenplay was written by Daniel Taradash, based on the novel Mischief by Charlotte Armstrong, published in 1951.

Monroe is featured as a disturbed babysitter watching a child at the same New York hotel where a pilot, played by Widmark, is staying. Her strange behavior makes him increasingly aware that she is the last person with whom the parents should have entrusted their daughter.

Don Juan (1926 film)

Don Juan is a 1926 American romantic Adventure film directed by Alan Crosland. It is the first feature-length film to utilize the Vitaphone sound-on-disc sound system with a synchronized musical score and sound effects, though it has no spoken dialogue. The film is inspired by Lord Byron's 1821 epic poem of the same name. The screenplay was written by Bess Meredyth with intertitles by Maude Fulton and Walter Anthony.Don Juan stars John Barrymore as the hand-kissing womanizer. The film has the most kisses in film history, with Barrymore kissing (all together) Mary Astor and Estelle Taylor 127 times.

Full Metal Jacket

Full Metal Jacket is a 1987 war film directed, co-written, and produced by Stanley Kubrick and starring Matthew Modine, R. Lee Ermey, Vincent D'Onofrio and Adam Baldwin. The screenplay by Kubrick, Michael Herr, and Gustav Hasford was based on Hasford's novel The Short-Timers (1979). The storyline follows a platoon of U.S. Marines through their training, primarily focusing on two privates, Joker and Pyle, who struggle to get through boot camp under their abusive drill instructor, Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, and the experiences of two of the platoon's Marines in the Tet Offensive during the Vietnam War. The film's title refers to the full metal jacket bullet used by soldiers. The film was released in the United States on June 26, 1987. It was the last of Kubrick's films to be released during his lifetime.

Full Metal Jacket received critical acclaim and an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay for Kubrick, Herr, and Hasford. In 2001, the American Film Institute placed it at No. 95 in their "AFI's 100 Years...100 Thrills" poll.

New Jack City

New Jack City is a 1991 American action gangster film based upon an original story and screenplay by Thomas Lee Wright, and directed by Mario Van Peebles in his directorial debut, who also co-stars in the film. The film stars Wesley Snipes, Ice-T, Allen Payne, Chris Rock, Mario Van Peebles and Judd Nelson. The film was released in the United States on March 8, 1991.Wesley Snipes plays Nino Brown, a rising drug-lord in New York City during the crack epidemic. Ice-T plays Scotty Appleton, a detective who vows to stop Nino's criminal activity by going undercover to work for Nino's gang.

Strangers on a Train (film)

Strangers on a Train is a 1951 American psychological thriller film noir produced and directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and based on the 1950 novel Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith. It was shot in the autumn of 1950 and released by Warner Bros. on June 30, 1951. The film stars Farley Granger, Ruth Roman, and Robert Walker, and features Leo G. Carroll, the director's daughter Pat Hitchcock, and Laura Elliott. It is number 32 on AFI's 100 Years... 100 Thrills.

The story concerns two strangers who meet on a train, a young tennis player and a charming psychopath. The psychopath suggests that because they each want to "get rid" of someone, they should "exchange" murders, and that way neither will be caught. The psychopath commits the first murder, then tries to force the tennis player to complete the bargain.

The Big Clock (film)

The Big Clock is a 1948 film noir directed by John Farrow and adapted by renowned novelist-screenwriter Jonathan Latimer from the novel of the same name by Kenneth Fearing.

The black-and-white film is set in New York City and stars Ray Milland, Charles Laughton, and Maureen O'Sullivan. Elsa Lanchester and Harry Morgan, in an early film role, also appear. Noel Neill has an uncredited part as an elevator operator very early in the film.

The Black Pirate

The Black Pirate is a 1926 silent adventure film shot entirely in two-color Technicolor about an adventurer and a "company" of pirates. It stars Douglas Fairbanks, Donald Crisp, Sam De Grasse, and Billie Dove.

The Cheat (1915 film)

The Cheat is a 1915 American silent drama film directed by Cecil B. DeMille, starring Fannie Ward, Sessue Hayakawa, and Jack Dean (1874-1950), Ward's real-life husband.

In 1993, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.

The Eagle (1925 film)

The Eagle is a 1925 American silent film directed by Clarence Brown and starring Rudolph Valentino, Vilma Bánky, and Louise Dresser. Based on the novel Dubrovsky by Alexander Pushkin, the film is about a lieutenant in the Russian army who catches the eye of Czarina Catherine II. After he rejects her advances and flees, she puts out a warrant for his arrest, dead or alive. When he learns that his father has been persecuted and killed, he dons a black mask and becomes an outlaw. Prints currently exist in the film holdings of EmGee Film Library and in private film collections. Black Eagle does not exist in the novel and was inspired by the performance of Douglas Fairbanks as Zorro in The Mark of Zorro.

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