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American Film Institute Hums Top 100 Movie Songs

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - The American Film Institute said Tuesday it will honor the songs of Hollywood in its ongoing celebration of American movies with "AFI's 100 Years ... 100 Songs: America's Greatest Music in the Movies," a three-hour special to be broadcast next year.

The event will count down the greatest movie songs as chosen by experts in the film community, including directors, screenwriters, actors, editors, cinematographers, critics and historians. The countdown will air in June on CBS, marking the seventh such television special.

"Great songs are a personal and unforgettable part of the storytelling experience, so combining music and film this year will undoubtedly provoke impassioned, heated debate and discord among even the closest friends," AFI director and CEO Jean Picker Firstenberg said.

Bob Gazzale, one of the producers of the program, said AFI will include songs from musicals and nonmusicals, including songs that weren't necessarily written for the film but were chosen by the filmmakers and played an important role in the movie, like Bob Seger's "Old Time Rock & Roll" in "Risky Business."

The AFI already has begun the jury process by distributing a ballot with 400 nominated songs to a 1,500-strong jury.

The list includes such songs as "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" (from "The Wizard of Oz"), "As Time Goes By" ("Casablanca"), "Singin' in the Rain" ("Singin' in the Rain"), "Moon River" ("Breakfast at Tiffany's"), "The Way We Were" ("The Way We Were"), "It Had to Be You" ("When Harry Met Sally ..."), "Say a Little Prayer" ("My Best Friend's Wedding"), "Take My Breath Away" ("Top Gun") and "Lose Yourself" ("8 Mile").

When judging a song, jurors are being asked to look at how a its music and lyrics set a tone or mood, define character, advance plot and/or express the film's theme, how the song may have impacted the culture of the nation and what kind of legacy the song left.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

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