08 June 2006

Not just 1, but 100

While celebrating the first 100 years of cinema, the American Film Institute (AFI) has nominated its best 100 film heroes and villains (i.e. 50 heroes & 50 villains). The best from this lot will be announced this month on the CBS Television Network.

Among known pure-American film heroes, you’ll find Indiana Jones (‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’), Rocky Balboa (‘Rocky’), General George Patton (‘Patton’), Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (‘Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid’), Superman (‘Superman’), Batman (‘Batman’), and Atticus Finch (‘To Kill A Mocking Bird’).

You’ll also find a host of foreigners like James Bond (‘Dr No’), Mahatma Gandhi (‘Gandhi’), T E Lawrence (‘Lawrence of Arabia’), Robin Hood (‘The Adventures of Robin Hood’), and General Maximus Decimus Meridus (‘Gladiator’).

These, and many more, male heroes will compete with their female counterparts: Clarice Starling (‘Silence of the Lambs’), Erin Brockovich (‘Erin Brockovich’), Thelma Dickerson and Louise Sawyer (‘Thelma & Louise’), Norma Rae Webster (‘Norma Rae’), Ellen Ripley (‘Aliens’), Karen Silkwood (‘Silkwood’), and Marge Gunderson (‘Fargo’).

There’s, of course, Lassie the dog (‘Lassie Come Home’).

You’ll also find The Tramp (‘City Lights’), Moses (‘The Ten Commandments’), Tarzan (‘Tarzan the Ape Man’), Zorro (‘The Mark of Zorro’), Terminator (‘Terminator 2: Judgment Day), and Obi-Wan Kenobi (‘Star Wars’).

These are some of the 400 film “characters who have a made a mark on American society in matters of style and substance.”

For voting purposes, a ‘hero’ has been “defined as a character(s) who prevails in extreme circumstances and dramatizes a sense of morality, courage and purpose. Though they may be ambiguous or flawed, they often sacrifice themselves to show humanity at its best.”

The list of villains includes another 50 names: Dr Hannibal Lecter (‘Silence of the Lambs’), Norman Bates (‘Psycho’), Darth Vader (‘The Empire Strikes Back’), Nurse Ratched (‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’), Michael Corleone (‘Godfather: Part II’), Count Dracula (‘Dracula’), The Alien (‘Alien’), and The Shark (‘Jaws’) among others.

For voting purposes, a ‘villain’ has been “defined as a character(s) whose wickedness of mind, selfishness of character and will to power are sometimes masked by beauty and nobility, while others may rage unmasked. They can be horribly evil or grandiosely funny, but are ultimately tragic.”

And, there you have it. Go here for the full list.

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