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AFI's Best Movie Heroes

AFI's list of films with the best heroes.

Batman . 1-DVD edition

A millionaire's son witnesses his parents' murder and grows up fighting the emotional trauma of that fateful night. To compensate, he develops a dual personality. During the day he's a playboy philanthropist, but at night, he become's the dark persona Batman, a masked crusader for justice. While fighting crime in Gotham, he eventually has to face an arch-criminal known as The Joker

Gladiator

A Roman general refuses to transfer his loyalty to the new Emperor, Commodus. He becomes a slave and then a gladiator, fighting in the Roman Colosseum in defiance of the Emperor

Philadelphia

Powerful story of two lawyers who join together to sue a prestigious Philadelphia law firm when the firm fires one of them because he has AIDS

Terminator 2: judgment day

A lethal cyborg, the T-1000, has been sent back from 2029 A.D. to present day Los Angeles on a mission to kill the boy destined to lead the freedom fighters of the future. The original Terminator cyborg is reprogrammed and sent to save the boy, assisted by the boy's mother, a woman warrior whose warnings of a world headed toward nuclear disaster go unheeded

Silkwood

Karen Silkwood becomes contaminated with plutonium at her job, voices her protest at the indifference and denial of her company, and becomes a threat to the entire nuclear industry and the government agencies that monitor it. Based on a true story

The French connection

Two tough New York City narcotics detectives learn of a scheme to smuggle a large quantity of heroin inside an automobile shipped from France

True grit

U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn helps a headstrong young girl find the man who murdered her father in Native American territory and fled with the family savings. When Rooster's employer insists on accompanying the old gunfighter, sparks fly. The situation goes from troubled to disastrous when an inexperienced Texas Ranger joins the party

City lights. 1-DVD edition

The most cherished film by Charlie Chaplin is also his ultimate Little Tramp chronicle. The writer-director-star achieved new levels of grace, in both physical comedy and dramatic poignancy, with this silent tale of a lovable vagrant falling for a young blind woman who sells flowers on the street and mistakes him for a millionaire. Though this Depression-era smash was made after the advent of sound, Chaplin remained steadfast in his love for the expressive beauty of the pre-talkie form

TCM greatest classic films. Family

Classics include: The Incredible Mr. Limpet (1964); Flipper (1964); National Velvet (1944); and Lassie Come Home (1943)

Serpico

Adaptation of the true story of a young New York police officer refuses to extort money from criminals as the other officers do. His fellow police officers turn against him when he seeks to expose the situation during a grand jury investigation

The ten commandments . 2-DVD edition

Filmed in Egypt and the Sinai with one of the biggest sets ever constructed for a motion picture, this epic tells the story of the life of Moses. Once favored in the Pharaoh's household, Moses turned his back on a privileged life to lead his people to freedom

Erin Brockovich

Erin Brockovich is a feisty young mother who convinces attorney Ed Masry to hire her and promptly stumbles upon a momumental law case against a giant corporation. Erin's determined to take on this powerful adversary even though no law firm has dared to do it before. The two begin an incredible and sometimes hilarious fight that will bring a small town to its feet and a huge company to its knees

The big sleep

L.A. private detective Philip Marlowe takes on a blackmail case and follows a trail peopled by murderers, pornographers, nightclub rogues, the spoiled rich - just to name a few. Marlowe is hired to protect a young woman and in the process, he falls in love with the woman's older sister

Fargo

A midwestern policewoman investigates a series of brutal and interconnected crimes. Steadily, she tightens the net on the killers and their accomplices in a kidnapping scheme gone wildly wrong

Sergeant York

Story of a boy drafted into the military who begins his career as a pacifist and then soon sees the justification for fighting

Superman

As an infant, Superman is sent to earth from the doomed planet Krypton. As he grows up, he learns he has super powers which he must hide from the ordinary mortals around him. But the time comes when Superman's powers for good are revealed to the world. Superman battles with supercriminal Lex Luthor and his cohorts as they attempt to destroy California by activating the San Andreas fault

All the president's men . 1-DVD edition

The true story of how Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein uncovered the White House involvement in the Watergate break in

12 angry men . 2-DVD edition

A behind-closed-doors look at the American legal system as riveting as it is spare, the iconic adaptation of Reginald Rose's teleplay stars Henry Fonda as the initially dissenting member of a jury of white men ready to pass judgment on a Puerto Rican teenager charged with murdering his father. What results is a saga of epic proportions that plays out in real time over ninety minutes in one sweltering room. One of the most radical big-screen courtroom dramas in cinema history

Patton

General Patton, who masterminded victory after victory during WWII, also considered himself to be an 18th century general living in the wrong era. Bonus features include behind the scenes, documentaries, still gallery with original score, and more

Cool hand Luke

Set in the southern United States, Luke is caught cutting off parking meters and is sentenced to the "chain gang."

On the waterfront

An ex-fighter gets a job working on the gang-ridden waterfront under a crooked gangster boss

Thelma & Louise

Thelma and Louise are accidental outlaws on a desperate flight across the Southwest after a tragic incident at a roadside bar. With a determined detective on their trail, a sweet-talking hitchhiker in their path, and a string of crimes in their wake, their journey alternates between hilarious, high-speed thrill ride and empowering personal odyssey ... even as the law closes in

The pride of the Yankees

Lou Gehrig, the Yank's great first baseman and the son of poor immigrants, rose to heights of baseball fame -- only to be cut down at the peak of his career by an incurable disease known as ALS

Dirty Harry

In San Francisco a rooftop killer has already murdered two people, and now he's kidnapped a girl. He threatens to let her suffocate unless the city pays his ransom demand. Harry's out to get him

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid . 1-DVD edition

Blends adventure, romance and comedy to tell the story of the West's most likeable outlaws, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, as they set out for Bolivia with the law on their heels

Spartacus

Spartacus is the bold gladiator slave who leads a massive slave revolt against Imperial Rome in this epic true account of man's eternal struggle for freedom

In the heat of the night

A small town Southern sheriff finds himself in an uneasy alliance with a big-city black homicide detective as they investigate a murder

The adventures of Robin Hood

Rebel outlaw Robin Hood outwits the Sheriff of Nottingham and Guy of Gisbourne, and saves the throne for the absent King Richard I

To kill a mockingbird

Gregory Peck plays a southern lawyer who defends a black man accused of rape in this film version of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. The way in which it captures a time, a place, and above all, a mood, makes this film a masterpiece

Dr. No

His name is Bond, James Bond. James, or 007, is Britain's top agent and is on a mission to solve the mysterious murder of a fellow agent. He is sent to Jamacia, where he joins forces with Quarrel and loyal CIA agent, Felix Leiter. While dodging tarantulas, 'fire breathing dragons' and a trio of assassins, known as the Three Blind Mice. Bond meets up with the beautiful Honey Ryder and goes face to face with the evil Dr. No. Dr. No is a fanatical scientist who is implementing an evil plan of world domination. Only James, with his wit, charm and skill, can confront the madman and save the human race from a horrible fate

Rocky . 1-DVD editon

Rocky Balboa, a club fighter seemingly going nowhere, gets his once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go the distance and come out a winner when fate puts him in the ring with the world heavyweight champion

High noon

This is the classic tale of a lawman who stands alone to defend a town of cowardly citizens against a gang of revenge-seeking criminals. In the greatest showdown in the history of cinema, the lawman stands to lose not only the town but his new wife

It's a wonderful life . 2-DVD edition

George Bailey has so many problems he is thinking about ending it all and it's Christmas! As the angels discuss George, his life is shown in flashback. As George is about to jump from a bridge, he ends up rescuing his guardian angel, Clarence. Clarence then shows George what his town would have looked like if it hadn't been for all of his good deeds over the years. Will Clarence be able to convince George to return to his family and forget suicide?

Schindler's list . 3-DVD 25th anniversary edition

Commemorate the twenty fifth Anniversary of Steven Spielberg's cinematic masterpiece of one of the most historically significant films of all time. Winner of seven Academy Awards including Best Picture and Director, the incredible true story follows the enigmatic Oskar Schindler, who saved the lives of more than 1,100 Jews during the Holocaust. It is the triumph of one man who made a difference and the drama of those who survived one of the darkest chapters in human history because of what he did

The silence of the lambs . 2-DVD edition

A young female FBI agent is sent to interview notorious killer, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, in hope of obtaining information that will help the Bureau catch another killer

Star Wars : the original trilogy

Science fiction tales of derring-do, heroism and romance. Set in the distant past, they relate the adventures of Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker and Han Solo as they battle the forces of the evil Imperial Army

The grapes of wrath

The migration of the Joad family to California from their dust-bowl farm in Oklahoma during the Great Depression

Norma Rae

Norma Rae, the Southern millworker who revolutionizes a small town and discovers a power in herself she never knew she had. Under the guidance of a New York unionizer and with increasing courage and determination, Norma Rae organizes her fellow factory workers to fight for better conditions and wages. Based on a true story

Aliens

Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), the sole survivor from the original ALIEN, is awakened after 57 years of drifting through space, her stories disbelieved by Company executives who tell her that the alien's planet is now inhabited and colonized. When contact is suddenly lost with the colonists, Ripley returns to the planet with a squad of marines, an android (Lance Henriksen), and a Company executive (Paul Reiser) with a mission of his own. Once on the planet, no survivors can be found except for Newt, a little girl who awakens motherly instincts in Ripley just in time for the acid-blooded aliens to attack in what quickly becomes a one-sided battle for sheer survival

Shane

A drifter and retired gunfighter assists a homestead family terrorized by an aging cattleman and his hired gun

Lawrence of Arabia

Presents the story of T.E. Lawrence (Peter O'Toole), the heroic and troubled man who organized the Arab nations to fight the Turks in World War I and then, having reached a pinnacle of power in Mideast politics, retired to postwar military obscurity

Casablanca

In World War II Morocco, seething with European refugees desperate for passage to neutral Lisbon, only a world-weary and bitter nightclub owner can help his former lover and her Resistance-hero husband escape from the Nazis

Indiana Jones and the raiders of the lost ark

Indiana Jones, an archeologist, embarks on a thrilling quest to locate the mystical Ark of the Covenant. Accompanied by his fiesty ex-flame Marion Ravenwood, Indy must discover the Ark before the Nazis do, and he has to survive poison, traps, snakes and treachery to do so
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