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AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Lillian Gish (1984)

The American Film Institute Salute to Lillian Gish (original title)
A tribute to actress Lillian Gish, a pioneer in American cinema whose long and distinguished career began in the early silent era.
Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lillian Gish ... Self - Guest of Honor
Douglas Fairbanks Jr. ... Self - Host
Sally Field ... Self
John Houseman ... Self
John Huston ... Self
Jennifer Jones ... Self
Mary Martin ... Self
Robert Mitchum ... Self
Colleen Moore ... Self
Jeanne Moreau ... Self
Eva Marie Saint ... Self
Mary Steenburgen ... Self
Richard Thomas ... Self
Lily Tomlin ... Self
Richard Widmark ... Self


A tribute to actress Lillian Gish, a pioneer in American cinema whose long and distinguished career began in the early silent era.

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Release Date:

17 April 1984 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The AFI Salute to Lillian Gish See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


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Sound Mix:

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Did You Know?


The Salute took place on 1 March 1984. See more »

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User Reviews

Great Tribute to Gish
7 February 2012 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Lillian Gish (1984)

*** 1/2 (out of 4)

Legendary actress Lillian Gish is the guest as she receives the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute. Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. serves as host and starts off by talking how Gish has pretty much been in movies since the format really took off. From here we have a wide range of guests paying tribute to Gish including Sally Field, John Huston, Jeanne Moreau, Robert Mitchum, George Stevens. Jr., Lily Tomlin, Richard Widmark, Colleen Moore, Eva Marie Saint, Richard Tomas and Jennifer Jones among others. Fans of Gish are certainly going to enjoy this tribute and fans of silent cinema are really going to enjoy the tribute to them. It's funny hearing Gish talk about how she hopes silent movies would come back and just wait until you hear the audience reaction to the ending of WAY DOWN EAST. Mitchum tells a great story about him questioning Charles Laughton when he learned Gish was hired for the part of the protector. Huston tells a touching story about his father working with Gish and also states that the evening is not only a tribute to the actress but also D.W. Griffith. Speaking of Griffith, it's great to hear the respect he's shown here, which certainly isn't the case when he's discussed today, which is a real shame. Carl Davis also plays the score to the various silent film clips that are shown and the work is quite remarkable. Fans of Gish will certainly want to check out this tribute as it really is one of the last love letters to silent cinema until more recent times.

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