Friday, November 21, 2014

5 Ways to Find the AFI Top 100 Movies

Since starting to tackle this list in July, I've had quite a few friends and readers reach out to me asking where the best place is to find these films. I figured I'd post something quick that could help anyone out there wanting to follow along weekly or watch the movies on their own. These might be pretty obvious to most, but I did some detective work, which should at least save you some time.

Here it is, 5 ways to catch any of the 100 AFI Top movies:

1. Movie Rentals/Purchases
This can be done in many ways, either through your local video store, or online through services like VUDU, Flixster, or Amazon Instant, ranging from $2.99 to $16.99/movie. A bit too rich for my blood, honestly, but all these movies will at least be available. Not too pricey if you're doing it here or there, but certainly adds up if you're doing a screening weekly.

Then there's Netflix, which features every single movie (I've checked!) on DVD or Blu-Ray, so long as you are paying for their monthly streaming subscription with DVD rentals activated. This is the #1 way that I've been receiving the movies each week, since I already had a membership. It does cost a fee (depending on your terms), but it's been the most reliable way to get the discs without so much as lifting a finger.

2. Online Streaming
For those people with online streaming accounts through services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, or Amazon Instant, this is the easiest way to access movies, though the options are far more limited. As of today, Netflix has 18 out of 100, Amazon Instant has 7 out of 100, and Hulu Plus comes in last with 4 out of 100. YouTube is also a rare option for older, Silent films, but is far from reliable. Even Crackle has some great random options, but free access expires at a set date (i.e. Easy Rider is available to watch until 12/1/14). I've added details to this list here of all the movies accessible by any of these (legal) streaming sites (with direct links!), and I'll try to update it regularly, because new movies are added all the time—and many are taken down!

3. Borrow From Friends' Collections
I also do this a lot. Not everyone has a plethora of movie lovers for friends, but many of these film are very well-known. It doesn't hurt to reach out to your friend with that expansive DVD wall and see if they'd be willing to lend you a title or two. Most likely, they'll want to watch it with you!

4. The Library
It's free. It's easy. They have nearly all of these movies, and they'll even hold the DVD title for you at the desk if you call ahead. This is my fool-proof back-up plan when I'm lazy and forget to mail my Netflix back. Most local libraries have online catalogs where you can search for titles, and baring any late fees, you'll walk away without spending a penny—except maybe on gas.

5. Theater Screenings
The final option is also the most time sensitive, not to mention hardest, to find. The beauty of these movies is they're all classics in their own right—because of that, movie buffs and lovers often come together to screen these bad boys on the big screen, the way they were meant to be seen. Usually a fixture in larger metropolises, like the New Beverly in Los Angeles or the Paramount Theatre in Oakland, it can often be the most fun to track down a monthly or weekly old movie showcase. Check out this comprehensive post from the 100 Years of Movies blog, which pooled together a list of US movie theaters that often screen the classics. It might be a bit outdated, but it's certainly a start! See if anything on the list is playing something near you. :)

I hope this helped a little bit in pointing you in the right direction, that is if you have an interest in tackling the list yourself! I certainly would love to kick the conversation with you all up a notch.

Have a great weekend all, and happy viewing!

{photo via Blue Square Thing}

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