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AFI's 100 Years... 100 Thrills: America's Most Heart-Pounding Movies (2001)

A look at the 100 most thrilling films in over 100 years of American cinema.

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Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Hell Night (1981)
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Four college pledges are forced to spend the night in a deserted old mansion where they get killed off one by one by the monstrous surviving members of a family massacre years earlier for trespassing on their living grounds.

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A girl once possessed by a demon finds that it still lurks within her. Meanwhile, a priest investigates the death of the girl's exorcist.

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The American Film Institute commemorates the first century of American films with this awesome made-for-TV special highlighting the greatest 100 American movies as determined by leaders in ... See full summary »

Directors: Gary Smith, Dann Netter
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This special is a recounting of the top 100 movies of all time, updated from the list of 10 years ago aired in the first AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies.

Director: Gary Smith
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The Exorcist (1973)
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When a preteen girl is possessed by a mysterious entity, her mother seeks the help of two priests to save her daughter.

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Repossessed (1990)
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Parody of The Exorcist (1973), with Linda Blair once again possessed by Satan, and Leslie Nielsen as the exorcist.

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Chained Heat (1983)
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Linda Blair plays Carol, a young woman who must serve 18 months in prison after killing a man (by accident). The prison turns out to be brimming with decadence, corruption and sleaze, where... See full summary »

Director: Paul Nicholas
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Years before Father Lancaster Merrin helped save Regan MacNeil's soul, he first encounters the demon Pazuzu in East Africa. This is the tale of Father Merrin's initial battle with Pazuzu and the rediscovery of his faith.

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Stars: Stellan Skarsgård, Izabella Scorupco, James D'Arcy
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A police lieutenant uncovers more than he bargained for as his investigation of a series of murders, which have all the hallmarks of the deceased 'Gemini' serial killer, lead him to question the patients of a psychiatric ward.

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A group of teens party at an abandoned funeral parlor on Halloween night. When an evil force awakens, demonic spirits keep them from leaving and turn their party into a living hell.

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Stagecoach (1939)
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A group of people traveling on a stagecoach find their journey complicated by the threat of Geronimo and learn something about each other in the process.

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The top 100 songs of the past 100 years chosen by the American Film Institute are presented by host-actor John Travolta.

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Stars: John Travolta, Clay Aiken, Debbie Allen
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Storyline

A roundabout of Hollywood's top people talk about their favorite thrilling films such as Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott, and Sandra Bullock. Films ranging from classics like "The Maltese Falcon" to blockbusters like "The Sixth Sense". Written by <MonkeyKingMA@aol.com>

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12 June 2001 (USA)  »

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Trivia

Steven Spielberg directed six films on the list, two of which are in the top 10. Spielberg also wrote and produced Poltergeist (1982). Stanley Kubrick directed five films on the list. See more »

Connections

Features Body Heat (1981) See more »

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User Reviews

Don't take it too seriously and it's a good time.
29 July 2001 | by (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) – See all my reviews

Like the AFI's previous lists, top 100 films and the top 100 comedies, the content of the top 100 heart pounders, as well as the order, will raise much debate. While some will welcome the debate, others will be infuriated by omissions as well as movies they believe to be undeservedly on the list. The list tends to be bias in favour of Hitchcock and Spielberg films and at times makes the viewer wonder what the AFI's definition of "heart pounding" is. Personally I'm still fuming over E.T: the extra-terrestrial's inclusion to the list, and not only that, but the fact that it's right next to Saving Private Ryan.

What this TV-special does provide is an hour of fascinating film clips from some of the best movies of all time. The narrative is provided by a variety of film-makers, actors and critics. William Friedkin and surprisingly Carl Weathers provide the best insight and commentary, and at the other end of the spectrum, Jean Claude Van Damme's mumbling makes you wonder if he's ever seen the movies that he's talking about. Some of the comments help in proving the intensity of the films, while others reveal bad choices by the AFI. Case in point: One actor's comment on All the President's Men - "It required you to listen to a lot of details, a lot of facts". OOOOhhh, i can feel my heart pounding!

All in all, the program was entertaining and educational for those who don't think that old films can be exciting. Except for the criticisms above as well as the spoiling of some movies (especially Psycho), AFI's top 100 heart pounders is a good way to spend 2 hours. Just don't take it too seriously.


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