Mickey Rooney in National Velvet
The American Film Institute celebrates America's 100 most inspiring movies in a three-hour CBS special AFI'S 100 Years... 100 Cheers, airing tonight at 8 pm/ET. Appearing in no fewer than seven films on the list — including Babes in Arms, Captains Courageous, Boys Town and National Velvet — is screen legend Mickey Rooney, who spoke with TV Guide about his life and career.

TV Guide: Is Babes in Arms your favorite of the 10 movies you made with Judy Garland?
Mickey Rooney:
I enjoyed doing all those musicals with Judy. We enjoyed working with each other, and the music by [Richard] Rodgers and [Lorenz] Hart was great. How can you miss with that?

TV Guide: What was it like working with Spencer Tracy in Boys Town?
There was only one Spencer Tracy. We made [that film] in two weeks: one in the studio and one in Nebraska. And to this day, I'm the honorary mayor of Boys Town.

TV Guide: National Velvet was the last movie you did before you went into the Army, right?
Yes, I was in the Army for three years. I was in a Jeep show and we played the front lines. I received a Bronze Star, which I wear today with reverence.

TV Guide: What do you think of today's movies?
There are good pictures today, but movies have changed a bit. I think musicals should come back, but they don't know how to do them. I just finished a movie with Ben Stiller and Robin Williams called Night at the Museum. I enjoyed that.

TV Guide: Have any movies inspired you?
No, the Lord inspired me.

TV Guide: Do you ever plan on retiring?
No, we don't retire. We inspire.