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AFI's 100 Years, 100 Songs

Confessions of a Voter

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Last fall I was honored to receive an official ballot for the American Film Institute's "100 Years, 100 Songs" poll. I had a lot of fun going through the 400 songs, laughing at some of the horrible choices (like "Dude Looks Like a Lady" from Mrs. Doubtfire) and enjoyed reliving some of the better ones.

The rules allowed us to choose 100 songs. We were to consider the song itself, the song's cultural impact and its legacy. I tried to consider songs that were inexorably tied to a film and have also lived beyond the film, such as "Moon River," "As Time Goes By" and "Fight the Power." But I quickly realized that there just aren't 100 songs with that kind of power. So I started throwing in songs that I liked and songs from movies I liked, even if that didn't necessarily mean a good movie or a good song. Even then I only got to 85, so I had to throw in a few guilty pleasures, like "(Don't You) Forget About Me" from The Breakfast Club.

I tried to choose songs from all over the century, even if I'm particularly drawn to songs from the 80s when I grew up and first became a movie nut.

In addition, the rules allowed us to rank our top five in the event of a tie-breaker. And it also allowed us to write-in five songs not on the ballot. I took advantage of both, though I now wish I had included "Moon River" on my top five, instead of "Let's Go Crazy."

Here's my ballot, juxtaposed with the final list, announced on Tuesday, June 22, 2004. Not unexpectedly, the two lists are quite different.

My Ballot The AFI's Final List

Top Five:

  1. "As Time Goes By" from Casablanca (1942)
  2. "Fight the Power" from Do the Right Thing (1989)
  3. "Goldfinger" from Goldfinger (1964)
  4. "Lose Yourself" from 8 Mile (2002)
  5. "Let's Go Crazy" from Purple Rain (1984)

  • "Anything Goes" from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
  • "Arthur's Theme (The Best That You Can Do)" from Arthur (1981)
  • "Baby It's Cold Outside" from Neptune's Daughter (1949)
  • "The Bare Necessities" from The Jungle Book (1967)
  • "Be My Baby" from Mean Streets (1973)
  • "Beauty and the Beast" from Beauty and the Beast (1991)
  • "Begin the Beguine" from Broadway Melody of 1940 (1940)
  • "Ben" from Ben (1972)
  • "Big Bottom" from This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
  • "Blame Canada" from South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999)
  • "Bohemian Rhapsody" from Wayne's World (1992)
  • "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B" from Buck Privates (1941)
  • "The Boys in the Backroom" from Destry Rides Again (1939)
  • "Buffalo Gal (Won't You Come Out Tonight)" from It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
  • "The Candy Man" from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
  • "Cheek to Cheek" from Top Hat (1935)
  • "Come What May" from Moulin Rouge! (2001)
  • "Cuban Pete" from Cuban Pete (1946)
  • "Day-O" from Beetlejuice (1988)
  • "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)
  • "Ding Dong the Witch Is Dead" from The Wizard of Oz (1939)
  • "(Don't You) Forget About Me" from The Breakfast Club (1985)
  • "The End" from Apocalypse Now (1979)
  • "Everybody's Talkin'" from Midnight Cowboy (1969)
  • "A Fine Romance" from Swing Time (1936)
  • "42nd Street" from 42nd Street (1933)
  • "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" from Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
  • "He's a Tramp" from Lady and the Tramp (1955)
  • "High Hopes" from A Hole in the Head (1959)
  • "How Little We Know" from To Have and Have Not (1944)
  • "I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow" from O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
  • "I Got Rhythm" from An American in Paris (1951)
  • "If I Only Had a Brain" from The Wizard of Oz (1939)
  • "I'll Stop the World and Melt with You" from Valley Girl (1983)
  • "I'm Easy" from Nashville (1975)
  • "I'm Tired" from Blazing Saddles (1974)
  • "In Dreams" from Blue Velvet (1986)
  • "In Your Eyes" from Say Anything... (1989)
  • "Isn't It Romantic?" from Love Me Tonight (1932)
  • "Jailhouse Rock" from Jailhouse Rock (1957)
  • "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" from Shall We Dance? (1937)
  • "Let's Get It On" from High Fidelity (2000)
  • "Make 'Em Laugh" from Singin' in the Rain (1952)
  • "Makin' Whoopee" from The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989)
  • "Moon River" from Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)
  • "New York, New York" from On the Town (1949)
  • "Nobody Does It Better" from The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
  • "Ol' Man River" from Show Boat (1936)
  • "On the Good Ship Lollipop" from Bright Eyes (1934)
  • "Put the Blame on Mame" from Gilda (1946)
  • "Puttin' on the Ritz" from Young Frankenstein (1974)
  • "The Rainbow Connection" from The Muppet Movie (1979)
  • "Rock Around the Clock" from The Blackboard Jungle (1955)
  • "Rock 'n' Roll High School from Rock 'n' Roll High School (1979)
  • "Runnin' Wild" from Some Like It Hot (1959)
  • "S'Wonderful" from Funny Face (1957)
  • "San Francisco" from San Francisco (1936)
  • "Save Me" from Magnolia (1999)
  • "Seems Like Old Times" from Annie Hall (1977)
  • "Shall We Gather at the River" from My Darling Clementine (1946)
  • "Shout" from National Lampoon's Animal House (1978)
  • "Silver Bells" from The Lemon Drop Kid (1951)
  • "Singin' in the Rain" from Singin' in the Rain (1952)
  • "Somewhere That's Green" from Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
  • "Springtime for Hitler" from The Producers (1968)
  • "Stayin' Alive" from Saturday Night Fever (1977)
  • "Steppin' Out with My Baby" from Easter Parade (1948)
  • "Stormy Weather" from Stormy Weather (1943)
  • "Stuck in the Middle with You" from Reservoir Dogs (1992)
  • "Summer Nights" from Grease (1978)
  • "Summertime" from Porgy and Bess (1959)
  • "Swinging on a Star" from Going My Way (1944)
  • "Tequila" from Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985)
  • "That's Entertainment" from The Band Wagon (1953)
  • "Theme from New York, New York" from New York, New York (1977)
  • "Theme from Shaft" from Shaft (1971)
  • "They Can't Take That Away from Me" from Shall We Dance? (1937)
  • "Things Have Changed" from Wonder Boys (2000)
  • "Think" from The Blues Brothers (1980)
  • "The Time Warp" from The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
  • "To Sir with Love" from To Sir with Love (1967)
  • "Unchained Melody" from Ghost (1990)
  • "Under the Sea" from The Little Mermaid (1989)
  • "Viva Las Vegas" from Viva Las Vegas (1964)
  • "The Way You Look Tonight" from Swing Time (1936)
  • "Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)" from The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
  • "When You Wish Upon a Star" from Pinocchio (1940)
  • "White Christmas" from Holiday Inn (1942)
  • "You Never Can Tell" from Pulp Fiction (1994)
  • "You're the One That I Want" from Grease (1978)

Write Ins:

  1. "Kiss the Girl" from The Little Mermaid (1989)
  2. "Purple Rain" from Purple Rain (1984)
  3. "The Siamese Cat Song" from Lady and the Tramp (1955)
  4. "This One's from the Heart" from One from the Heart (1982)
  5. "When I See an Elephant Fly" from Dumbo (1941)

  1. "Over the Rainbow" - The Wizard of Oz (1939)
  2. "As Time Goes By" - Casablanca (1942)
  3. "Singin' in the Rain" - Singin' in the Rain (1952)
  4. "Moon River" - Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)
  5. "White Christmas" - Holiday Inn (1942)
  6. "Mrs. Robinson" - The Graduate (1967)
  7. "When You Wish Upon A Star" - Pinocchio (1940)
  8. "The Way We Were" - The Way We Were (1973)
  9. "Stayin' Alive" - Saturday Night Fever (1977)
  10. "The Sound Of Music" - The Sound Of Music (1965)
  11. "The Man That Got Away" - <A Star Is Born (1954)
  12. "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend" - Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)
  13. "People" - Funny Girl (1968)
  14. "My Heart Will Go On" - Titanic (1997)
  15. "Cheek To Cheek" - Top Hat (1935)
  16. "Evergreen (Love Theme From A Star Is Born)" - A Star Is Born (1976)
  17. "I Could Have Danced All Night" - My Fair Lady (1964)
  18. "Cabaret" - Cabaret (1972)
  19. "Some Day My Prince Will Come" - Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs (1937)
  20. "Somewhere" - West Side Story (1961)
  21. "Jailhouse Rock" - Jailhouse Rock (1957)
  22. "Everybody's Talkin'" - Midnight Cowboy (1969)
  23. "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head" - Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid (1969)
  24. "Ol' Man River" - Show Boat (1936)
  25. "High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darlin)" - High Noon (1952)
  26. "The Trolley Song" - Meet Me In St. Louis (1944)
  27. "Unchained Melody" - Ghost (1990)
  28. "Some Enchanted Evening" - South Pacific (1958)
  29. "Born To Be Wild" - Easy Rider (1969)
  30. "Stormy Weather" - Stormy Weather (1943)
  31. "Theme From New York, New York" - New York, New York (1977)
  32. "I Got Rhythm" - An American In Paris (1951)
  33. "Aquarius" - Hair (1979)
  34. "Let's Call The Whole Thing Off" - Shall We Dance (1937)
  35. "America" - West Side Story (1961)
  36. "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" - Mary Poppins (1964)
  37. "Swinging On A Star" - Going My Way (1944)
  38. "Theme From Shaft" - Shaft (1971)
  39. "Days Of Wine And Roses" - Days Of Wine And Roses (1963)
  40. "Fight The Power" - Do The Right Thing (1989)
  41. "New York, New York" - On The Town (1949)
  42. "Luck Be A Lady" - Guys And Dolls (1955)
  43. "The Way You Look Tonight" - Swing Time (1936)
  44. "Wind Beneath My Wings" - Beaches (1988)
  45. "That's Entertainment" - The Band Wagon (1953)
  46. "Don't Rain On My Parade" - Funny Girl (1968)
  47. "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah" - Song Of The South (1947)
  48. "Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)" - The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
  49. "Make 'Em Laugh" - Singin' In The Rain (1952)
  50. "Rock Around The Clock" - Blackboard Jungle (1955)
  51. "Fame" - Fame (1980)
  52. "Summertime" - Porgy And Bess (1959)
  53. "Goldfinger" in Goldfinger (1964)
  54. "Shall We Dance" - The King And I (1956)
  55. "Flashdance - What A Feeling" - Flashdance (1983)
  56. "Thank Heaven For Little Girls" - Gigi (1958)
  57. "The Windmills Of Your Mind" - The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)
  58. "Gonna Fly Now" - Rocky (1976)
  59. "Tonight" - West Side Story (1961)
  60. "It Had To Be You" - When Harry Met Sally... (1989)
  61. "Get Happy" - Summer Stock (1950)
  62. "Beauty And The Beast" - Beauty And The Beast (1991)
  63. "Thanks For The Memory" - The Big Broadcast Of 1938 (1938)
  64. "My Favorite Things" - The Sound Of Music (1965)
  65. "I Will Always Love You" - The Bodyguard (1992)
  66. "Suicide Is Painless" - M*A*S*H (1970)
  67. "Nobody Does It Better" - The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
  68. "Streets Of Philadelphia" - Philadelphia (1993)
  69. "On The Good Ship Lollipop" - Bright Eyes (1934)
  70. "Summer Nights" - Grease (1978)
  71. "The Yankee Doodle Boy" - Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)
  72. "Good Morning" - Singin' In The Rain (1952)
  73. "Isn't It Romantic?" - Love Me Tonight (1932)
  74. "Rainbow Connection" - The Muppet Movie (1979)
  75. "Up Where We Belong" - An Officer And A Gentleman (1982)
  76. "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" - Meet Me In St. Louis (1944)
  77. "The Shadow Of Your Smile" - The Sandpiper (1965)
  78. "9 To 5" - 9 To 5 (1980)
  79. "Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)" - Arthur (1981)
  80. "Springtime For Hitler" - The Producers (1968)
  81. "I'm Easy" - Nashville (1975)
  82. "Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead" - The Wizard Of Oz (1939)
  83. "The Rose" - The Rose (1979)
  84. "Put The Blame On Mame" - Gilda (1946)
  85. "Come What May" - Moulin Rouge! (2001)
  86. "(I've Had) The Time Of My Life" - Dirty Dancing (1987)
  87. "Buttons And Bows" - The Paleface (1948)
  88. "Do Re Mi" - The Sound Of Music (1965)
  89. "Puttin' On The Ritz" - Young Frankenstein (1974)
  90. "Seems Like Old Times" - Annie Hall (1977)
  91. "Let The River Run" - Working Girl (1988)
  92. "Long Ago And Far Away" - Cover Girl (1944)
  93. "Lose Yourself" - 8 Mile (2002)
  94. "Ain't Too Proud To Beg" - The Big Chill (1983)
  95. "(We're Off On The) Road To Morocco" - Road To Morocco (1942)
  96. "Footloose" - Footloose (1984)
  97. "42nd Street" - 42nd Street (1933)
  98. "All That Jazz" - Chicago (2002)
  99. "Hakuna Matata" - The Lion King (1994)
  100. "Old Time Rock And Roll" - Risky Business (1983)

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