Film Institute in Los Angeles conducted their sixth polling, 100
Heroes and Villains. AFI again celebrated American cinema, and revealed
America’s 100 greatest good and bad guys/gals (50 of each), either
fact-based or fantastically-fictional, as chosen
by voters - a jury of 1,500 directors, actors, screenwriters, critics,
historians and others.
[Compare to the list of The Online Film Critics
Society (OFCS) that in 2002 had polled their own membership
of Internet-based cinema journalists for the top 100 greatest screen
villains of all time, accessible here.] The list of 400
nominated films was made available before the final voting. The AFI left the judgment
calls to jurors about the categorization of virtuous heroes and wicked
villains, advising them only to not vote for a character as both.
Judging Criteria For Selection of Heroes and Villains included:
- Hero - Sometimes mythic figures, sometimes
ordinary people who prevail in extreme circumstances, heroes dramatize
a sense of morality, courage and purpose often lacking in our everyday
world. Heroes do what is good, just and right; and even though they
may be ambiguous or flawed characters, they often sacrifice themselves
to show humanity at its best and most humane. For voting purposes,
AFI defined a "hero" as a single character, a duo or a team
- Villain - Characters that movie goers love
to hate - and hate to love. Villains are characters whose wickedness
of mind, selfishness of character and will to power are sometimes
masked by beauty and nobility. Others rage unmasked. Daring the worst
to gain the most, the movie villains we remember best can be horrifically
evil, merely sleazy or grandiosely funny, but are usually complex,
moving and tragic. For voting purposes, AFI defined a "villain"
as a single character, a duo or a team of characters.
- Cultural Impact - Characters that have made
a mark on American society in matters of style and substance.
- Legacy - Characters that elicit strong reactions
across time, enriching America's film heritage and inspiring artists
and audiences today.
- Feature Length Feature Films - Only feature-length
American films released before January 1, 2002 were considered. AFI
defined a feature-length film as a motion picture of narrative format
that is typically over 60 minutes in length. AFI defined an American
film as an English language film with significant creative and/or
financial production elements from the United States.