AFI Lists Top 10 Movies and TV Programs of 2010

Published 4 years ago by , Updated March 17th, 2014 at 10:15 am,

AFI Awards 2010 AFI Lists Top 10 Movies and TV Programs of 2010

The American Film Institute announced its list of the Top 10 movies of 2010 today, giving film fans a likely glimpse at many of the movies in contention for the Best Picture Oscar at this year’s Academy Awards.

AFI’s Top 10 films represent a wide range of styles, from the brainy big budget action film Inception and the animated Toy Story 3 to the low-budget indie films Winter’s Bone and The Kids Are All Right.

Several of the films on the list, including True Grit and The Fighter, have yet to make nationwide releases, but are already racking up major points with critics. Our own Kofi Outlaw gave The Fighter a perfect five star review.

Check below for the full list of the AFI’s Top 10 films for 2010, as well as a video highlighting each of the movies.

The AFI’s Top 10 Movies of 2010

The AFI awards are chosen by a diverse group of film professionals, including critics, writers, producers, and scholars. Some of the individuals who served on this year’s AFI jury included producer Tom Pollock, screenwriter Diablo Cody (Juno), and famed critic Leonard Maltin.

The AFI also released its list of the Top Ten TV programs of 2010. The selections include several hit shows from cable channels AMC and HBO, as well as a handful of popular network comedies. Check out the full list below.

The AFI’s Top 10 TV Programs

Of the TV selections, I’ve enjoyed Boardwalk Empire, The Pacific, and The Walking Dead immensely this year. I’ve heard nothing but good things about Breaking Bad, but still haven’t gotten around to watching the show from the beginning.

What do you think of the AFI’s selections for best movies and TV shows? Is there anything you would add that’s missing, or anything that you don’t think belongs?

Source: AFI

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  1. I am going for Inception and The Town
    Kick-Ass shoul be on there!
    and The Walking Dead should win!

  2. Well,I haven’t seen 127 Hours,Black Swan,True Grit or the Fighter as they are future releases where I’m from but the rest I have seen and agree 100%. As for the television list…yeah,I don’t really watch much tv.

  3. No Shutter Island or Dexter? For shame.

  4. As much as I liked Inception and The Social Network as of now my pick would be Winter’s Bone. I was blown away and have seen it 2 times since. My opinion may change when the rest of the films are released but it will be tough for me to change my mind. The only movie I didn’t care for was The Kids Are All Right. I don’t know if my expectations ran to high from all I had heard about it but after seeing it I was rather let down. TV picks are Boardwalk, 30 Rock, The Walking Dead and as always Dexter….

  5. It should not be 30 Rock but Community.

  6. Glee? REALLY? They lost all credibility with that one.

    • Glee is alright, everytime they do a bad episode they do a good episode. its weird how much it goes back and forth so periodically

      • The first season of Glee deserves to be there I guess, but not this season. I don’t even watch it now.


  8. Not surprised to see Inception on there, though it is highly overrated.

    Love me some Boardwalk Empire!

    • I feel the same way about Inception. It wasn’t engaging enough. After a while I was just watching the screen hoping to catch up with the story. Same with TDK the first time I saw it. Can’t put my finger on it. I guess it’s just Nolan’s style.

  9. Sons of Anarchy should be on the list! That show is great!!!

  10. Shutter Island, Scott Pilgrim,


    Kids are Alright and Winter’s Bone on my list, but thats just me.

    Kick Ass would be number 11

    i like this list as it is, i hope this is the noms for best picture this year, especially “The Town” that was great and i dont think it get the credit it deserved when it hit theaters.

    as for the tv list, i dont like Modern Family (call me crazy) but the rest of the list i like in general. But i’m not a tv person.

    gotta love AFI, being a credible source of lists for us to debate over

    • Yea you know, Shutter Island should be on that list Leo’s performance was electric and gripping compared to Inception and I’ve never made it through one episode of Modern Family. Never laughed once.

    • i think this will be the list that the academy picks but they’ll probably switch out “The Town” for “Kings Speech”

      i’m kinda surprised “Get Low” isnt getting but award buzz, i havent seen it yet but i really want to

  11. Oh, there’s nothing crazy about not liking Modern Family! To me, it’s a safe, bland show dressed up as something more interesting than it is. I’m really mystified by the love people have for that show – I tried to like it, but it just does nothing for me.

    The movie list seems pretty strong to me (though I miss Animal Kingdom, not that I actually thought it would be in there). The TV list is a bit patchier; the main ones I think they missed were Lost and Dexter.

  12. The final season of Lost was very moving and I was disappointed to see it lose to some of the newer shows. However, this is coming from a fan that has stuck with the series since the first episode.

  13. My sister got hooked on Breaking Bad when she was hospitalized for knee surgery a few months ago, and she really enjoyed it.

    I finally got to watch Inception on DVD yesterday, and I understand why AFI chose it as one of their 10 best movies of the year. Also looking forward to getting The Town this weekend (my brother saw this movie back in early October, and he was blown away by the great storytelling). Boardwalk Empire and The Pacific were very impressive, and I enjoyed watching both series.

  14. I would add City Island to the list of best films of 2010. I think The Last Song was overlooked here as was Secretariat Those are the only three films I see MIA here. If I had to choose among the three, it’s “Island”.

    While I did not agree with some of the sexual content, I do think The Kids Are All Right was well written and acted overall (Annette Bening deserves an Oscar) and think it’s good that it’s on the list.

    Ioy Story 3…? Who can argue with that? Best film of 2010.

    I think Social Network, however, was overrated, I didn’t care for it.

  15. Apparently the AFI doesn’t actually watch anything, or else The Big C wouldn’t be anywhere near that list. I was secretly hoping Louie would’ve got a spot on there; despite its crassness, that’s one of the smartest most biting shows on television.

  16. What, no Smallville?

    • DSM,

      Dude – within the 10 season run of Smallville there have been better seasons and worse – but objectively speaking I’m sorry but the show is not a “Top 10″ any more than any of the other shows on The CW.

      Is it interesting and fun to Superman fans and those of us who want some superhero action on TV? Sure. But by any other measure it’s not “quality” television. It’s cheesy, soap opera fun, but that’s about it.


      • Vic.

        I was joking.

        • Ah, sorry DSM. I do know how much you love that show. :-D


          • Well, I do love it to bits, but I also recognise that it isnt an award winning show by a long shot. I enjoy it, and I think like you, I accept the cheesiness and just have fun with the show. Sometimes its great, sometimes its awful.

      • Vic,

        You are of course entitled to your opinion – but to allude to Smallville as merely a cheesy soap opera is just wrong. It shouldn’t matter what network a show originates from, if it has character development and strong story progression and managing to maintain both qualities over a number of years – especially ten – then the show deserves recognition.

        I could argue this further but I have already made further comments on this thread. I would welcome yours and other Screen Rant staff’s opinion on this and always be willing to counter those arguments.

        I’m not saying that every other show around must be ignored, I just feel more should be made of Smallville lasting ten years than what currently is.

        I hope Screen Rant pays a suitable homage to the show when it does finally end

        • lebsta,

          Actually my opinion of Smallville (which I do watch weekly) is not BASED on the network it’s on – it’s just a match for other shows on that network IMHO.


  17. Glad to see the walking dead on there, it truly was a phenomenal debut season

  18. I don’t think The Walking Dead should be on this list, it is great, its well acted and the efects are good, but it is probably the least original thing on television currently.

  19. Can someone please etell me why Smallville isn’t on this list? Will that show ever get the recognition that it truly deserves.

    Accounting for the fact I’m a UK viewer I will say Smallville season 9 as it was possibly the most ambitious season of the series – though this may be topped curretnly by season 10 from the positive vibes around.

    Film of the year – The Town. Inception came close but got wrapped up in itself at times. The Town by comparison was a classs lesson, in lean and efficient excitement, full ot tension but with strong performances to add.

    If Smallville is not to be accepted in the list – and I don’t see why it shouldn’t , then I will go for the Pacific.

    Maybe Smallville would get more recognition in polls for best shows of the last decade- a future topic of discussion of Screen Rant.

    • That was a brave thing to say, you will likely get lynched now. I agree Smallville is amazing, seasons 8-10 have shown the greatest improvement I have ever seen in a television show (not saying it wasnt good before of course, but the leap in quality is obvious), it’s my favourite show that is currently on and is one of my favourtie shows of all time.

      But you will never find it on a list such as this, somehow Smallville seems to fly under the radar in many ways, and perhaps that explains its longevity.

      The show doesnt need awards or to be critically acclaimed, Smallville survives because of a truly loyal and wonderful fanbase that have kept it popular all around the world, we know its great and that is enough.

      Most shows don’t survive a first season these days, popular genre shows traditionally aim for 7 seasons, Smallville has lasted 10 and could have gone on for more, but in a way I am glad it is finishing, and oh boy are they going out on a high!

      • @Dr Sam Beckett

        Very well said and it’s because of the points that you make – which are all correct – that makes it such an outrage that it doesn’t get enough attention and coverage.

        If indeed there was a poll of top 10 shows of the decade, then the usual suspects of Sopranos, Simpsons, Sex And The City, CSI, House, 24 always recognised. This is largely because they amass higher ratings so tv critics feel the need to put them on a higher status.

        When we look at AFI list, it’s all shows that have been on in the last year or two, again going for the more fresher flavour of the month shows.

        Now is Smallville better that all the shows mentioned above?? – Yes. Why?? because it’s shown more quality, lastability and longetivity than most shows despite being on comparatively a much smaller budget and getting nowhere near the kind of promotion or hype as those shows

        The Pacific for example – which was an excellent mini-series – was fuelled with a massive budget, over $100 million I believe – wasn’t exactly a monster ratings hit. Now imagine Smallville on even half that kind of budget. It would mot only attract a wider audience and fan base but also retain that ratings share for a consistent number of years. And that the same time produce season finales that put blockbuster movies even more to shame that the current ones have already.

        I may be attacked severly for my comments – but where Smallville is concerned I will argue with anyone, constructively of course.

  20. Did AFI misses The King’s Speech?
    Just wondering why.

    • wow, i just noticed that to. i havent seen Kings Speech yet (not playing anywhere close to me) but it looks like the kinda movie film critics gush over. its got alot of buzz and Colin Firth looks great in it.

      • i just notice that The King’s Speech is a British production. I don’t think it will be released here

        • “Ghandi” “An Education” “Slumdog Millionaire” “The Queen” “Finding Neverland” “The Full Monty” were all British Production films

          “Lord of the Rings” were all technecally New Zealand films

          “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon” Chinese

          “Life Is Beautyful” Italian

          the academy doesnt care about country of origin as long as it is first released between Jan 1 and Dec 31 and plays for at least a week in an Los Angeles theater

          • sorry i re-read what you were saying.

            “The Kings Speech” was released for a limited run in the States on Dec 10. so its elligable for who-ever’s list.

  21. hmm