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On June 3, 2003 the American Film Institute continued the ass-kissing festival known as their 100 Years... series of television specials. This time it was “100 Years...100 Heroes and Villains”, hosted by Arnold Schwartzenegger (obviously slumming for T3) The title is a bit misleading, there are only 50 heroes and 50 villains covered. I was surprised at the number of classic characters present, as most of these lists have been skewed toward the present in order to sell more DVDs.

50 Heroes

  1. Atticus Finch (To Kill A Mockingbird)
  2. Indiana Jones
  3. James Bond
  4. Rick Blaine (Casablanca)
  5. Will Kane (High Noon)
  6. Clarice Starling
  7. Rocky Balboa
  8. Ellen Ripley (Alien)
  9. George Bailey (It’s A Wonderful Life)
  10. T.E. Lawrence
  11. Jefferson Smith (Mr. Smith Goes to Washington)
  12. Tom Joad
  13. Oskar Schindler
  14. Han Solo
  15. Norma Rae Webster (Norma Rae)
  16. Shane
  17. “Dirty” Harry Callahan
  18. Robin Hood
  19. Virgil Tibbs (In the Heat of the Night)
  20. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
  21. Gandhi
  22. Spartacus
  23. Terry Malloy (On the Waterfront)
  24. Thelma & Louise
  25. Lou Gehrig
  26. Superman
  27. Woodward & Bernstein (All the President’s Men)
  28. Juror #8 (12 Angry Men)
  29. George S. Patton
  30. Cool Hand Luke
  31. Erin Brockovich
  32. Phillip Marlowe
  33. Marge Gunderson (Fargo)
  34. Tarzan
  35. Sgt. York
  36. Rooster Cogburn
  37. Obi-Wan Kenobi
  38. The Tramp
  39. Lassie
  40. Serpico
  41. Mr. Chips
  42. Father Flanagan
  43. Moses
  44. Popeye Doyle (The French Connection)
  45. Zorro
  46. Batman
  47. Karen Silkwood (Silkwood)
  48. T-800
  49. Andrew Beckett (Philadelphia)
  50. Maximus (Gladiator)

Personal Bitching - Heroes: I agree that Atticus Finch is certainly a heroic and noble character, but I just don’t think he embodies that larger-than-life character that comes to my mind when I think of movie hero. He just doesn’t seem right for Number #1. I was glad than Han Solo got the nod over that whiny bitch Luke. Does anyone else feel weird about real people being on the list? The lives of Gandhi, Patton, Lou Gehrig, Oskar Schindler and the others just don’t feel right placed in the context of the same list as the T-800 and Lassie. I’m surprised that Ripley was placed so high while Sarah Conner was left off altogether.

Notable Missing: Scarlett O’Hara, The Magnificent Seven, The Man With No Name, R2-D2, Ben-Hur, Quint.

50 Villains

  1. Hannibal Lecter
  2. Norman Bates
  3. Darth Vader
  4. The Wicked Witch of the West
  5. Nurse Ratched
  6. Mr. Potter (It’s A Wonderful Life)
  7. Alex Forrest (Fatal Attraction)
  8. Phyllis Dietrichson (Double Indemnity)
  9. Regan MacNeill (The Exorcist)
  10. The Queen (Snow White)
  11. Michael Corleone
  12. Alex DeLarge (A Clockwork Orange)
  13. HAL-9000
  14. the Xenomorph (Alien)
  15. Amon Goeth (Schindler’s List)
  16. Noah Cross (Chinatown)
  17. Annie Wilkes (Misery)
  18. Bruce the Shark (Jaws)
  19. Captain Bligh
  20. Man (Bambi)
  21. Mrs. John Iselin (The Manchurian Candidate)
  22. T-800
  23. Eve Harrington (All About Eve)
  24. Gordon Gekko (Wall Street)
  25. Jack Torrance (The Shining)
  26. Cody Jarrett (White Heat)
  27. The Martians (War of the Worlds)
  28. Max Cady (Cape Fear)
  29. Rev. Harry Powell (The Night of the Hunter)
  30. Travis Bickle
  31. Mrs. Danvers (Rebecca)
  32. Bonnie & Clyde
  33. Count Dracula
  34. Dr. Szell (The Marathon Man)
  35. J.J. Hunsecker (Sweet Smell of Success)
  36. Frank Booth (Blue Velvet)
  37. Harry Lime
  38. Little Caesar
  39. Cruella De Vil
  40. Freddy Krueger
  41. Joan Crawford (Mommy Dearest)
  42. Tom Powers (The Public Enemy)
  43. Regina Giddens (The Little Foxes)
  44. Baby Jane
  45. The Joker
  46. Hans Gruber (Die Hard)
  47. Tony Camonte (Scarface)
  48. Roger “Verbal” Kint
  49. Goldfinger
  50. Alonzo Harris (Training Day)

Personal Bitching - Villains: Is it just me, or is there a big fall off after the top four? We go from four of the most evil and scary characters of all-time to a nurse, a crippled old man and two crazy women? Sure they were manipulative and bad, but not scary evil. Are Michael Corleone, Travis Bickle and Bonnie & Clyde really villains? They were the main characters! They did bad things according to the law, but they were not the villain of their movies. Why Freddy but not Jason or Leatherface? Why the Alien but not the Predator? Why the T-800 but not the T-1000? How can Hans Gruber be a great villain but the much more popular John McClane is not a great hero?

Notable Missing: the Predator, Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, Leatherface, T-1000, Agent Smith, Emperor Palpatine, Frankenstein’s monster, Ethan Edwards, John Doe, Biff Tannen.

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