100 YEARS...100 SONGS
by American Film Institute (AFI)
The American Film Institute in Los Angeles conducted their seventh polling, 100 Years...100 Songs that highlighted "America's Greatest Music in the Movies." AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs revealed the 100 greatest songs in American films, as chosen by leaders of the entertainment community, in a three-hour television event, that aired on the CBS Television Network in June 2004.
See also this site's informative sections on Entertainment Weekly's 100 Best Film Soundtracks, Film Comment's 101 Film Score Milestones (1933-2001), and Greatest Musical Song/Dance Movie Moments and Scenes (illustrated).
Winners of Academy Award for Best Original Song marked by
Judging Criteria for Selection of Films and Songs:
A ballot was distributed in 2003 with 400 nominated films and songs to a jury of 1,500 leaders from the film community, including film artists (directors, screenwriters, actors, editors, composers, cinematographers, etc.) critics and historians.
Only songs from feature-length American films released before January 1, 2003, were considered. [AFI defined an American film as an English language film with significant creative and/or financial production elements from the United States, and a feature-length film as a motion picture of narrative format that is typically over 60 minutes in length.] Voters could submit up to five write-in choices not included among the 400 nominees. The jurors were asked to consider the following criteria in their selections of greatest songs:
|Song||Film (and Year)||Film Performer|
|1. "Over The Rainbow"||The Wizard of Oz (1939)||Judy Garland|
|2. "As Time Goes By"||Casablanca (1942)||Dooley Wilson|
|3. "Singin' in the Rain"||Singin' In The Rain (1952)||Gene Kelly|
|4. "Moon River"||Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)||Audrey Hepburn|
|5. "White Christmas"||Holiday Inn (1942)||Bing Crosby|
|6. "Mrs. Robinson"||The Graduate (1967)||Simon & Garfunkel|
|7. "When You Wish Upon A Star"||Pinocchio (1940)||Cliff Richards|
|8. "The Way We Were"||The Way We Were (1973)||Barbra Streisand|
|9. "Stayin' Alive"||Saturday Night Fever (1977)||The Bee Gees|
|10. "The Sound Of Music"||The Sound Of Music (1965)||Julie Andrews|
Comparing Decades (descending order):
The earliest song on the top 100 list was:
The newest songs on the top 100 list were:
Two seasonal songs placed in the top 100:
Two counter-cultural films featured these honored songs:
There were no Beatles songs among the nominees -- and obviously, in the winners list. Was this because the films were not American-made and therefore ineligible?
Dubious 'winners' included:
"Puttin' On The Ritz" at # 89 was attributed to Young Frankenstein (1974), but was originally sung in Blue Skies (1946).
Three musicals succeeded in having their three nominees honored in the top 100:
Two unrelated versions of "New York, New York" made the top 100:
There were two Burt Bacharach compositions in the top 100:
Two individuals were represented five times on the list:
Four individuals were represented four times on the list:
There were three songs on the list sung by Bing Crosby:
Popular title songs from many musicals or other films failed to make the top 100:
Some song winners represented different genres of music:
Nominees from rock musicals that surprisingly didn't make the top 100:
Songs from Frank Sinatra or from the documentary film Woodstock (1970) did not make the cut to be in the top 100.
Twenty-nine of the top 100 AFI picks won the Oscar for Best Song:
Winners included five Disney animations:
Other animation/live-action and puppetry winners included:
Although "That's Entertainment" from The Band Wagon (1953) ranked at # 45, nominee "There's No Business Like Show Business" from Annie Get Your Gun (1950) didn't make the cut.
Other classic standard songs that were nominated but didn't appear in the final list:
Other surprising omissions in the top 100 from the 400 nominees:
Twenty-two songs in the top 100 list were from Broadway productions, many of which were merely adaptations from their Broadway stage musical versions, such as:
One of the songs in the top 100 list was originally from an opera: