Inspiring minds want to know: Which film is most uplifting of all? AFI's on the case.

The list-happy American Film Institute is gearing up for another primetime countdown, this time focusing their powers of hierarchy on AFI's 100 Years...100 Cheers: America's Most Inspiring Movies.

"Over the years, the movies have given us something to cheer about," says Jean Picker Firstenberg, the institute's director and CEO. "The past few years have not been easy in America--from September 11 to the devastation of hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma.

"AFI's 100 Years...100 Cheers will celebrate the films that inspire us, encourage us to make a difference and send us from the theater with a greater sense of possibility and hope for the future."

The list is the ninth annual compilation for AFI, whose previous endeavors included 1998's 100 Years...100 Movies, 1999's 100 Stars, 2000's 100 Laughs, 2001's 100 Thrills, 2002's 100 Passions, 2003's 100 Villains, 2004's 100 Songs and last year's 100 Movie Quotes.

To aid potential voters in their choice of inspiring films, a master ballot with 300 nominations was distributed Thursday to a jury of more than 1,500 industry types.

The panel of actors, directors, critics and historians will whittle down the impressive compilation to just 100 for the prime-time special.

Flicks old and new appear on the ballot, with nominations as varied as 8 Mile and Gandhi, It's a Wonderful Life and The Karate Kid, and The Passion of the Christ and Rocky.

Not surprisingly, Hollywood nice guys Tom Hanks and Henry Fonda led the inspiring charge, with each actor appearing in eight movies from the list. Sidney Poitier, Gary Cooper and Denzel Washington were the next most represented actors, with seven feel-good flicks apiece.

Directors Frank Capra and Steven Spielberg also secured their spots as cinematic uplifters as each had a half-dozen films each making the cut, including Capra's It's a Wonderful Life, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, and Spielberg's E.T., Schindler's List and The Color Purple.

Though AFI provided an ample selection of heart-warming flicks, should a voter's personal fave not be listed, up to five other films can be written in on each ballot.

Voters are simply asked to consider only English-language, or at least U.S.-produced, films, and motion pictures that leave audiences feeling "triumphant"--whether or not that includes a happy ending.

AFI unveils its 100 Years...100 Cheers: America's Most Inspiring Movies with a three-hour special that airs in June on CBS.

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