In the past 18 months, two teenage sisters in North Carolina watched a LOT of movies.

Cecilia (16) and Julie (15) Pitts set out to watch all 87 films that won an Oscar for Best Picture as well as every movie on the AFI’s 100 Years…100 Movies list.

Here’s what they had to say about the filmmakers, actors, and movies they watched:

The Filmmakers That Made An Impression On Them

Alfred Hitchcock

Director Alfred Hitchcock during production of The Birds (1963)

“I don't think I had seen any of his movies. But now I think he is amazing at what he does. I consider him to be the best of that kind of film style.” — CP

Stanley Kubrick

“You can tell he has this thing for strange stories. A Clockwork Orange was great and I just like the whole milk room scene…that’s a great shot. I love the part where he’s singing while he’s in the tub.

“And 2001: A Space Odyssey. Oh man, the baby in space! And the scene where he goes to that room that is almost like a plain room and then he sees his old self. It’s like, ‘Whoa!’

“I also liked the whole beginning intro with the ape grabbing the bone. It’s like symbolizing a new start of something — and then the bone going in the air. I had seen that in other things before, but I had never really known where it came from. It was cool seeing that from the original thing.” — JP

The Actors That Caught Their Eye

Meryl Streep

“I just think she gets so into character and she does everything just amazingly. She was great in Kramer vs. Kramer and The Deer Hunter. I can't decide which one I liked more. She’s become my favorite actress.” — CP

Dustin Hoffman

“I liked him, but I hadn't really heard of him. But then I saw him in Rain Man, Marathon Man and The Graduate. He acted so good. I also saw him in Midnight Cowboy where he was like, ‘Hey, I'm walking here!’ and I'm like, ‘So that’s where it came from!’” — JP

Vivien Leigh

“I loved how she portrayed the character in A Streetcar Named Desire. I felt she was kind of alright, but you knew she was insane, kind of losing it. Then at the end, all of what you had been thinking, it was confirmed and then you just saw her like: boom, she’s crazy.” — JP

The Movies That Stuck With Them

Sylvester Stallone in Rocky (1976).


“This is my favorite movie of all. Its simple story pulled me in from the opening scene. What is amazing is I felt as if it could really happen. It’s like Marty except he is an underdog, you love him, you want him to be in love. The underdog story at its finest.” — CP

“The characters were all likable, even Paulie was harmless. Something that stood out was the music by Bill Conti. We watched the films out of order, but it appears to be the first real use of workout montages, and the music is perfect in those scenes. Rocky was not a really good boxer, but he had heart and just wanted to go the distance. In the end it was more important for him to win the girl, Adrian. They were one of my favorite couples. They were so shy. It was cute.” — JP

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

“Everything is just great in the beginning, everyone is happy, funny scenes (like when Butch fights that giant man). A nice musical interlude with ‘Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head’ (which I had never heard) but then everything, I would say, hilariously, goes wrong.

“The pairing of these two was amazing. It was clear they liked each other in real life (I found out after the movie that they did) so I never feared that one would leave the other. Wanting to get into trouble and adventures? Just like in The Sting, nobody could sell friendship on screen like these two. They were my favorite movie couple.” — JP

Salvatore Corsitto, left, and Marlon Brando in a scene from The Godfather 1972.

The Godfather

“Here Brando isn't a flashy mobster at all. He controls the family, He wants the best for the family. He has given them the American Dream. You can tell the actors looked up to him — and it works.” — CP

On the Waterfront

“This is really the young Brando’s film (we saw this after The Godfather). Watching this I could tell he was so different from the other actors we had seen from films in that era.

“Johnny Friendly (played by Lee J. Cobb) is a good villain, he seems like someone that had been as equally tough as Brando’s Terry Malloy when he was younger.

“But Terry, he is TOUGH… but raises pigeons. He doesn’t seem like he would need a full-time girl, but falls for Edie Doyle (played by Eva Marie Saint). Terry is ultimately vulnerable though, isn't he? The famous scene in the back of the cab… just look at the pain and disappointment on his face. That’s acting.” — CP

Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

“Our parents have the box set. One weekend, we watched them along with our grandmother and we were blown away.

“What I liked most in this film is the care it gave to the books and the audience. The director wasn't afraid to put everything on the screen. And more than any other sequel, it ties up all the storylines in a very satisfying way. One of the few scenes I cried at during our project was in this film: when Bilbo and Frodo decided to go away at the end.” — CP

Rain Man

“So many stories in one. A bro-pic. A road picture. A buddy pic. I had seen Dustin Hoffman in a lot of films previous to this, so I was somewhat prepared for his performance, but was not ready for Tom Cruise.

“If Tom’s Charlie character doesn't develop, if we don't empathize with him at a certain point, the story would have just fallen apart. But Cruise comes through. One thing me, my sister and my Dad can always do to laugh, is say the ‘97 X…BAM…The future of Rock and Roll’ line.

“It REALLY annoys our mom.” — CP


Dustin Hoffman from Tootsie (1982).

“Hoffman (as Michael Dorsey) can't keep, then can't get a job because he is a difficult method actor.

“But all the success he wanted opens up when he goes to an audition dressed as a woman, and gets a part in a big time soap opera.

“Dorothy (the female version of Michael) empowers women by being a role model for women, that alone is funny. BUT the scenes where he reveals he is a woman AND the scene where his agent and he argue over his portrayal of a ‘beefsteak tomato’ are hilarious. It’s a smart, funny comedy.” — JP

Some Like It Hot

“I thought Marilyn Monroe was pretty good. I liked her as the girl in Some Like It Hot. I liked the other people in the story too. The two guys were hilarious. The whole plot was super funny.

“The ending, oh my gosh the ending, where it’s the rich guy on the boat and he’s just like, ‘Let’s get married ’ — he says that to Jack Lemmon — and it’s like, ‘I'm a guy’ and he’s like, ‘Nobody’s perfect.’” — JP

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

“This was the last of the Jack Nicholson movies on our list that we watched. And up to then he could be counted on to play really cool characters, that could use his wits to get over on people.

“What I really loved about this movie was that Jack was the one that got hoodwinked. He had no idea what he had gotten himself into. All the scenes with the other patients are funny. When I found out that only he and Billy Bibbit (played by Brad Dourif) were the only involuntary patients, it made me sad. But I felt it made it a better movie because it showed Jack was capable of doing something for someone other than himself as he came to be more of a protector to Billy.

“Billy is one of my favorite characters, thinking of his death makes me sad even now. Billy seems to be pure goodness against Nurse Ratched's (Louise Fletcher) pure evil. I didn’t expect Jack to get lobotomized and mercy killed, but I was happy that he fought Nurse Ratched, for Billy, with all he had, to the end.” — JP

What They Learned From Watching So Many Classic Movies

Story Is What Matters

“If the story’s good or if it looks good, why does it matter if it’s silent, black and white? We'll watch it.” — CP

Movies Enable Connection

“After seeing all of these, I've got some good movie references and some inside jokes now. So I come out of this with a lot of positive things like I can talk about them with other people who have seen them.

“And I'm a kid, so I can talk about this to adults and can have something in common with them. I can appreciate other movies now because I just came out of this with more appreciation of movies.

“I like history, so I do this so I can remember it. Kids my age aren't going to really know some of these movies and so I feel pretty proud of myself knowing something that a lot of others, a lot of my peers, don't know.” — JP

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A conversation about the power of movies

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A conversation about the power of movies

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