The American Film Institute named Atticus Finch the greatest movie hero of the 20th century.  Additionally, the AFI ranked the movie second on their 100 Years... 100 Cheers list, behind It's a Wonderful Life .  The film was ranked number 34 on AFI's list of the 100 greatest movies of all time , but moved up to number 25 on the 10th Anniversary list .  In June 2008, the AFI revealed its " Ten top Ten "—the best ten films in ten "classic" American film genres—after polling over 1,500 people from the creative community. To Kill a Mockingbird was acknowledged as the best film in the courtroom drama genre. 
David Baker: Well, it’s certainly it’s about prejudice, it’s about pride, it’s about prejudgment. But you know the thing that struck me most about it is the universality of traits that are found in all human beings are in this book. Particularly, the fact that it’s a book told through the eyes of a little girl as she becomes a woman. And I find that very beautiful…‘cause it’s almost biblical in the sense a child, a little child shall lead them. And I guess I’m also struck by the way that Harper Lee characterized the various players in the book. For instance, the fact that there is that duality that all human beings have that nobody’s essentially all bad or all good. And I thought that, more than anything else, she was able to capture that. And I thought about an ad that I happened to be seeing on TV the other night when I was, you know, going through the book again, and it’s the ad that Kobe Bryant does. And he talks about, “People hate me because I swagger, they hate me because I score too many points, they hate me because I’m a pro.” And then when he finishes all of that, he says very quietly, “It’s the same reason that some people love me.” And I thought about that when I thought about, you know, some of the characters here who are very, very bad, are very evil seemingly in intent. And yet then there’ll be somebody who happens that says there’s something redeemable about them.
In 1993, Lee penned a brief foreword to her book. In it she asks that future editions of To Kill a Mockingbird be spared critical introductions. “ Mockingbird, ” she writes, “still says what it has to say; it has managed to survive the years without preamble.” The book remains a staple of high school and college reading lists, beloved by millions of readers worldwide for its appealing depiction of childhood innocence, its scathing moral condemnation of racial prejudice, and its affirmation that human goodness can withstand the assault of evil.