The American Film Institute's list was assembled for and broadcast on a three-hour CBS special, "AFI'S 100 Years ... 100 Cheers: America's Most Inspiring Movies," which aired Wednesday.
Though religious themes made the list, everyday human accomplishments triumphed, according to U.S. actors, directors, screenwriters and critics who voted, E!Online reported.
The most inspirational movie, according to judges, was "It's a Wonderful Life," which tells the tale of banker George Bailey who was coaxed by his guardian angel not to commit suicide. "Miracle on 34th Street" -- another classic -- came in ninth.
The film institute panel looked for movies that inspire "with characters of vision and conviction who face adversity and often make a personal sacrifice for the greater good." Based on that definition, "Babe" -- the story of a pig -- and "The Karate Kid" came out ahead of "The Mission," "The Robe" and "The Bible," none of which made the top 100.
Oscar-winning filmmaker Steven Spielberg had five films on the list, including three in the top 10.