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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Don't take it too seriously and it's a good time.

Author: questions6768 from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
29 July 2001

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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Liked the show, disliked many of the choices!

Author: hnt_dnl from United States
24 July 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I actually saw this showing of AFI's 100 YEARS, 100 THRILLS first run in 2001. I really enjoyed the first 3-hour show of the best American films in '98 and was really looking forward to this one. Right off the bat, I was very disappointed with many of their choices. Interestingly, I think their top 10 is pretty solid (including some of my all time favorite films such as Pyscho-#1, Jaws-#2, North By Northwest-#4, Alien-#6). In particular, Psycho and Jaws are not only atop my thrilling list, but they are also in my top 5 of ALL TIME films! So no arguments there. North by Northwest is definitely in my top 10 thrilling, and probably in my top 20, if not 10, of all time films. Alien definitely makes tops in my sci fi list.

I won't really even argue with some of the other top 10 choices like Exorcist-#3, Raiders of the Lost Ark-#10, The French Connection-#8, even though these movies are not amongst my faves, but I know that they are considered iconic films and they do qualify in the "thrilling" category! My least fave of the top 10 is Silence of the Lambs-#5, which I believe to be monumentally overrated and boring as all get out! I much prefer Michael Mann's Manhunter (which I don't think made the top 100!).

Throughout the 100, they made some really good choices, like The Terminator-#42, Dirty Harry-#41, Bullitt-#36, Star Wars-#27, Magnficicent Seven-#79, High Noon-#20, Die Hard-#39, 2001-#40, The Fugitive-#33, Invasion of the Body Snatchers-#47, and a few others. The Terminator, Dirty Harry, and Die Hard would probably make my personal top 10 thrilling movies.

But, boy, did they also make some ODD picks, too! Sorry, but much as I love some of them, movies like The Godfather-#11, The Wizard of Oz-#43, Vertigo-#18, Double Indemnity-#24, The Maltese Falcon-#26, Casablanca-#37, Rocky-#52, Gaslight-#78, 12 Angry Men-#88, Bonnie and Clyde-#13 (to name a few!) do NOT belong on this list! And several of these are amongst my all-time best films! But "thrilling" is overstating it a bit. I mean, one could really find thrilling moments in virtually any genre of film, but that doesn't qualify it automatically as a thrilling movie! Most of the movies I mentioned in this paragraph are closer to "dramas" than "thrillers"! Godfather, Maltese Faclon, 12 Angry Men in particular are amongst my top films of all time, but NOT "thrilling"!

Even movies that could qualify like Titanic-#25, Braveheart-#91 and Poseidon Adventure-#90 leave me scratching my head! Braveheart (which I think is very overrated) has a healthy amount of sappy love story and romance in it and even the scenes that are supposed to be thrilling (the war scenes) are overwrought and have idiotic humor in them that make them come across as kind of laughable. Titanic is two-thirds (maybe more) love story! I even argue that Braveheart and Titanic aren't even good movies (but they have their positive points), but Poseidon Adventure definitely SUCKS as a movie! Shouldn't a movie be at least "good", even if it has thrills in it, to make the list? Heck, Thelma and Louise-#76 is basically a "chick flick" and really the so-called thrilling scenes are diluted by this very fact!

I would say at least one-third (maybe more!) of the AFI top 100 list has movies that don't belong. I would also drop a movie like T2 since there is already T1 on the list and also I think T2 is very overrated as a film and not nearly as thrilling as T1. My general rule would probably be no sequels just because of virtually all the action/sci-fi thrilling films I've seen, I generally preferred the original to the sequel anyway! Even movies like The Deer Hunter-#30 and Saving Private Ryan-#45 don't belong! Deer Hunter is basically a drama and Ryan has a healthy amount of talk and drama and slows down at times! A great film like Taxi Driver-#22 is borderline for me; while it is a essentially a character study, it also moves a pretty good pace and it is so intense and gripping with Travis Bickle being such a ticking time bomb the whole way through, it could qualify as "thrilling".

Some noticeable omissions for me are movie like Robocop, Lethal Weapon, The Hidden, and Predator, all 80s classics that have stood the test of time and all very popular movies that qualify as thrilling! There's a gold mine of thrilling movies from the 80s that were left off! Some of the most entertaining films in the modern era come from that decade! Also, I noticed that the Western wasn't well represented.

Overall, AFI did a poor job of selecting this list. It really disappoints me, too, because it's bad that the Academy rarely ever gets anything right. At the very least one would think a body like AFI which should have no reason to be biased. I mean, who cares if Godfather makes this "thrilling" list since it is already regarded by AFI as the 2nd greatest film of all time? That honor ought to be good enough!

While I did like the show itself and the hosting by Harrison Ford and SOME of the choices, overall, this was a FAIL by the AFI!

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Not very good choices; some good interviews...

Author: MovieAddict2014 from UK
23 February 2004

The choices weren't extraordinarily good but I enjoyed watching the interviews in yet another flawed AFI program. Honestly, I don't know anyone who actually agrees with these shows--it's more or less just a matter of ocassionally agreeing with a choice or two.

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A good thought flawed list (Some spoilers)

Author: Neal Wruck from Rancho Cucamonga, CA USA
4 October 2001

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Rating: 8.0 out of 10.0

The American Film Institute, after creating quite a controversy with their greatest movies list, was able to redeem itself with their Greatest Stars and Funniest Movies lists. Now, they present their latest: America's Most Heart-Pounding Movies.

The list is top-heavy with Alfred Hitchcock. The `Master of Suspense' has nine films, including three in the top ten alone (Psycho, North by Northwest, The Birds). Steven Spielberg has seven, including Jaws and Raiders of the Lost Ark in the top ten. The late, great Stanley Kubrick has five on the list, though none made the top ten.

The list, naturally, goes from number 100 to number 1. No complaints about Psycho being named the most thrilling movie of all time. It's also nice to see some of the movies that did not make the greatest movies list (The Exorcist, Deliverance, Dirty Harry, Jurassic Park, Goldfinger, etc.). I also thought the interviews with various stars and filmmakers were rather interesting and informative.

But, like every AFI list or Academy Awards show, there are things I did not like about this list. Here are four movies I was sure would make the list.

1. Apocalypse Now: Recently, I went on the AFI's website and checked the list of nominees. They nominated The Blair Witch Project, The General and even Ghostbusters. But not Apocalypse Now! Don't they know the First Air Cavalry's charge to Wagner's `Dance of the Valkyries' and Martin Sheen's battle with Marlon Brando is more thrilling than watching some girl videotape herself screaming?

2. Archnophobia: Again, it was not even nominated. The movie that made me afraid of spiders should have made the list for the heart-pounding battle between Jeff Daniels and the mother Tarantula.

3. The Hunt for Red October: Well, at least they nominated it, thought they selected other less thrilling films over it. The scene where the Red October `Disappears' in front of the U.S.S Dallas and the final battle against that other Russian Sub should have been enough for this film to make it.

4. Patriot Games: Also nominated, but not chosen. You have to love how thrilling the terriost attack on Buckingham Palace and the high-speed boat chase near the end are.

Honorable Mentions that weren't even nominated: Live and Let Die, Thunderball.

Like I said, You have to give the AFI some credit for choosing films that did not make the greatest movies list. But should have spent more time on the nominees and on the films that were selected. Worth watching, but not recommended.

The AFI's top ten:

1. Psycho 2. Jaws 3. The Exorcist 4. North by Northwest 5. The Silence of the Lambs 6. Aliens 7. The Birds 8. The French Connection 9. Rosemary's Baby 10. Raiders of the Lost Ark

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0 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

100 movies. Zero insights. 100 thrills? Zero value.

Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom
1 November 2002

A shortlist of 400 American films was drawn up and those in the `business' were allowed to vote on which they thought were the most exciting and thrilling. The top 100 were taken and screened on this programme. Harrison Ford presents.

I'm not a big fan of movie lists or movie list programmes. I'll give them a good try if they are one offs or publicly voted from an open list, but many, like this one, are professionals voting from a set list. Here we are restricted to 400 movies and all of them American. The opening clips show that this 400 included Twister and Shanghai Noon! I mean come on – how can you expect anything different from the same old names and faces. But to be honest the list is still OK – I imagine that even if they had left it open then most of the top 100 would have been more of less the same.

My problem with this programme was the total lack of value in the almost 3 hour running time. If all I wanted was the list then I could have got it off the internet or a newspaper. No, a programme about the list should have added something of value to most if not all of the films on the list. Sadly for the majority of the films there is only a clip and then a celebrity saying `oh yeah I liked it' etc. My favourite was the way they used Jean Claude Van Damme as a contributor – he says nothing of any value whatsoever!

I expected them to try and interview the director or star of the film in question for a little insight to the film or a funny tale. In some cases this happens but for a lot of them the contributors have nothing to do with the film (Carl Weathers, Lucy Liu, Van Damme) who have nothing to say. Lucy Liu is used a lot but says nothing that a man in the street couldn't have said. I know that each film is only given 2 or 3 minutes but when a lot of them are a clip and an unrelated celeb saying that they liked it and it was a great movie etc.

The flip side of this is that lots of those interviewed called the film `the greatest yada yada ever'. Charlton Heston is the worst one of this. In his three pieces for his three films he calls them the greatest ever – does he really believe that everything he does is great and worthy of being on the list! A Touch of Evil is `the greatest thriller ever made', Planet of the Apes is `the greatest sci-fi movie ever made' and Ben-Hur has `the greatest action scenes in history'. I found that for the vast majority of the films that nothing of any value or interest was said, so I was left with clips of films that I had already seen.

The most interesting bit of watching the show was seeing how messed up American TV is. For any clip with swearing is bleeped out throughout the whole show. However any violence is shown in all it's glory, including the climax of the Wild Bunch for God's sake! Why are they so scared of bad language but will happily show people getting killed or bleeding? The other thing of note is how incredibly wooden Harrison Ford has become since the days of Han Solo and Indiana Jones.

Overall this was a waste of three hours for me. I should have just read the list in 3 minutes instead. I had hoped that the three minutes given to each film were wasted. For the vast majority nothing of any value was said and it could easily have been a clips show without any comments. Total waste of time.

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